A Day in the Life: Transitioning to Online Learning

Imagine: It’s the fall semester of your senior year of college. You can’t wait to see all of your friends, have late nights in the studio, and take multiple trips to Lowes. Fast forward to your spring break. You have just finished your midterm architecture review and said, “see you later” to your friends and classmates. Little did you know, you probably won’t ever be seeing some of those classmates ever again. 

Getting word that school would be moved too online because of a national pandemic was a shock to the system for most. Going to a school that was currently on spring break, all I could think was, “how are we going to get our stuff out of studio and how in the world will studio be taught?” I am someone who does not live in South Dakota so I couldn’t come pick up my stuff by the time that the department had scheduled for us. Luckily, I have the best Aunt and Uncle who picked it all up for me. The architecture department at SDSU have some of the most amazing faculty that kept us all informed as to what was going on and how things would work moving forward. Zoom became our form of communication. 

For those of you who don’t know, Zoom is a video conferencing app. This allowed us all the see each other and screen share our work. The only downfall to zoom is if your Wi-Fi goes out, you are no longer “in class”. How rude, I know. 

Learning Curve

The transition to online learning was hard for not only students, but also faculty. Everyone had some learning to do. Faculty had to figure out how to hold a studio that was engaging and informative. Coming from a studio that was solely based on a physical model, we had to decide if we would continue trying to do something physical or move onto a computer program. After about a week on online classes, we had finally decided that a program would be the easiest form of conveying our information to our professor. 


A lot of adjustments were made. Having to move home was a big one. I wasn’t the only one working from home. My dad, an engineer, my mom, a teacher, and my sister, a high school student, all were working from home. We had to figure out where we all wanted our work spaces to be and when we would be working. If all of us worked at the same time, our Wi-Fi would go out. This was a big problem for me. I was running two or three programs at a time and they would end up crashing if too many people were on the Wi-Fi. 

Having a work space that you come to every day is something essential to create a constant schedule. This space should house all the things you need to work on and from. To make it feel like a space for school work, I made sure to only use it for such. 


One of the main things that I found difficult doing school from home was the amount of distractions. The biggest ones being my dogs. They have the cutest faces that I just can’t resist. 

I know, distracting little buggers. Another big one was family members walking in and asking things or seeing how it was going. I know they are just curious, but having to explain what I was doing would pull me out of my concentration. I would then want to get up and get a snack or see what everyone else was up to. Yes, I can sometimes be the curious one distracting others. 

One of the distractions with online itself, is that you are able to watch what other people are doing during class time. Seeing something funny or interesting on the computer screen can distract you just as much as something/someone who is physically with you.


All though transitioning too online was mandatory, I feel as though it was a good thing; for school life and for personal life. Yes, my senior year was cut short with my friends, but I feel as though I am connecting with them other ways. As for school, being exposed to other forms of learning gives us the ability to be more diverse. It also allows us to have a better form of communication with others. 

Sydney Reedy

Sydney Reedy is a fourth year architecture student currently enrolled at South Dakota State University. In the summer of 2019, she had the opportunity to work with a small firm out of Omaha, Nebraska. She plans to return to them this coming summer. This spring she will be graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Architecture and plans to continue her education in the fall at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln pursuing a masters of architecture degree. She hopes to one day obtain her Architectural License. 

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