Item

Oral Interview with St. Mary's University Student Paul Garza

Media

Title (Dublin Core)

Oral Interview with St. Mary's University Student Paul Garza
Paul Garza Oral History 2020/11/23

Description (Dublin Core)

Paul Garza is a sophomore at S. Mary's University. He was able to sit down over zoom and do an interview with me to talk about his experience of online learning during the pandemic. He goes into depth about the changes in the class structures and the changes in his college experience.

Recording Date (Dublin Core)

Creator (Dublin Core)

Event Identifier (Dublin Core)

Partner (Dublin Core)

Type (Dublin Core)

oral history

Controlled Vocabulary (Dublin Core)

Curator's Tags (Omeka Classic)

Contributor's Tags (a true folksonomy) (Friend of a Friend)

Date Submitted (Dublin Core)

11/25/2020

Date Modified (Dublin Core)

11/25/2020

Date Created (Dublin Core)

11/23/2020

Interviewer (Bibliographic Ontology)

Bianca-Rhae Jacquez

Interviewee (Bibliographic Ontology)

Paul Garza

Format (Dublin Core)

m4a
audio

Language (Dublin Core)

English

Duration (Omeka Classic)

15:31

Transcription (Omeka Classic)

Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 00:01
Okay, can you please introduce yourself? And what is your relationship or your relation to
St. Mary's University?
Paul Garza 00:08
Right. Hello, my name is Paul Garza. I am a sophomore at St. Mary's University. I'm a
history major and a sociology major. And I'm currently in an officer for the St. Mary's
history club.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 00:26
Thank you, Paul, so much for letting me interview today. So one of my first questions I
want to ask you is, how would you describe your life as a resident prior to COVID-19?
Paul Garza 00:39
So my life prior to COVID, um I would say that it was very engaging, like, I had a pretty
good relationship with my professors. And then I was um I feel very engaged in the same
marriage community. So I feel like there was we're always doing something, whether it was
like, academic or not, there was always something to do.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 01:11
What would you, if you had to pick from all the things that St. Mary's does? You know, we
have all these events going on? What is one of your favorite events that you have
attended at St. Mary's last year since it was your freshman year?
Paul Garza 01:25
Okay, my favorite was the Christmas tree lighting. And so I'm a little curious to see like,
what they're gonna do about that this year?
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 01:35
Me too, I'm very curious how that's gonna happen. So, as you know, on March 13, we got
an email saying that our spring break was going to be extended an extra week, how did
you feel about getting an extra week of spring break, and also knowing that your classes
were going to be switched to online after spring break?
Paul Garza 02:03
Initially, I was a little excited, I think I was just in my head, like, oh, extra vacation, and then
it kind of hit you. And I started thinking about like, oh, like, I'm going to be thrown off with
my routine. Like I already had a set schedule of how I did things. And a certain way of
doing things. I followed that a strict schedule, but I had a pretty tight schedule about what
I did throughout my day during the week. So I was a little worried about I was one I was
worried about money. I was like, Did I just finish paying housing for what like, for what
reason? But as far as like academics and classes, I wasn't too worried about my grades,
because there were pretty good, but I was a little curious to see how like, other professors
would adjust.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 02:55
So on that topic, how do you think your classes last semester, with a short notice how you
think your professors handled that transition? Do you think it kind of eased your worry in
the transition to online classes?
Paul Garza 03:11
I definitely do think that they made it as smooth as possible and transition to online
classes. All my professors changed. They didn't change their curriculum, but they changed
the way that they were going to do it. So um, let's see. One class like we weren't for some
of the classes, I wasn't always required to be online, like virtually there. So I feel like that
was like less of a burden on this. And just being able to know that we, because at home, I
think we know we all have like different responsibilities, more responsibilities as family,
other things going on. So knowing that I didn't have to be like physically on the computer
screen at all times was a good thing for me. I think they did a really good job.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 04:00
How do you think since you are and you were part of the History club last semester or last
year? How do you think outside classes went? How do you think the RSO is handled
shifting? Do you think it was kind of helpful to have something to distract you while you're
at home? Because I know being at home while you're in this mess, you can be really rough
Do you think those outside activities were kind of like stress relievers for yourself?
Paul Garza 04:30
I would think so. Because to me, it was sorta like, Oh, I have something else to look
forward to that. It's not academics is like is not like a big burden on us. It's not something
that caused stress for me. And then just being able to have that interaction with other
students was definitely like, made you feel good, like brought a little bit of normalcy to
thing in the middle of all the craziness.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 04:56
Yeah. How did you feel In terms of like, I put it in terms of the way. Like, I'll come back to
that question.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 05:13
So when the classes, the different classes, structures were announced this summer, in that
email, or we had three options, how did you feel? Did you were you like, Oh, I have a
chance of maybe going back? Did you want to come back to campus? Or did you look at
those options and say, No, I'm just going to stay here this semester, and really focus on my
safety.
05:40
So when I saw that I was, I was supposed to go to Chaminade University and was going to
participate in an exchange program. But once I got that email it kind of like, I guess,
showed, like, Oh, this is like, very, very serious now like, so then I started thinking about
like, well, should I even go to Chaminade University, like in the middle of a pandemic? And
so, ultimately, I decided not to do that. And so I had to last minute register for my classes
at St. Mary's and figure out what I needed to do, what type of classes I was going to
choose. But I did at first when I once I decided I wasn't going to Chaminade, I did want to
go back to campus. But like taking into consideration, like, I talked to several faculty and
staff from St. Mary's, and ask them how things were going in San Antonio, so I could have
like a more personal perspective on it. And they said things were pretty bad. like hospitals.
I know, they said hospitals were filling up. And that was a little scary, like a little moment, I
was like, oh, maybe I should stay home. So at the end, I did choose to stay home.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 06:54
And did you pick any classes that were in person? The combination in person virtual?
Paul Garza 07:01
No, I did not.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 07:03
I just have to ask because I know a lot of people picked them and then asked for their
professors to let them stay on campus or a stay at home. So that was late, even though
there were the on campus. option. A lot of people didn't go back.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 07:24
So how do you feel now about your classes that you're taking online? Do you think now
that professors, for example, professions, how to get certifications to be online professors?
And they had to do that over the summer? Do you think now that they are certified that
their classes, the flow of your classes are a lot more organized and more structured than
them having to rush and go hastily into online?
Paul Garza 07:52
Oh, for sure. So I didn't I did recognize this semester, like a lot more professors didn't know
how to work like canvas and know how to one use zoom, like being able to share screen
and I guess take like, full advantage of it and be able to make class more engaging.
Because I feel like the last semester when we first converted to online, it was just like,
okay, just turn on your camera. And like, let's just talk because it was just like, sitting there
and listening to lecture on the camera.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 08:25
Have you had any issues technology wise, or being able to attend your classes this
semester?
Paul Garza 08:31
Um, I wouldn't say I've had like too bad of issues. But I have had like, the occasional like,
connection loss and like connection isn't too strong. Some days I have had like, oh, man,
like the professor keeps freezing or I keep freezing. So that can be pretty annoying.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 08:51
Yeah. How do you think online has affected your not only your classes, but your outside of
like your university experience?
Paul Garza 09:08
I think in a way it has made it less personal. So I like I think I'm a student that thrives in the
in person setting because I love to talk and ask questions. So I definitely don't feel like I
get the chance to do that long online because it's just like, why would I don't like you don't
raise your hand in the middle of an online lesson. You don't get to stay after class and ask
specific questions to the professor get to actually know them. And so I feel like it just
makes it a less personal connection to to everyone like students and the professors.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 09:50
Next semester, will you be going back to campus are you going to do at home again,
Paul Garza 09:56
so I'm going to be staying home again next semester.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 10:03
How do you think being at home has affected your college experience?
Paul Garza 10:09
It has really made learning and studying a bit more difficult. Because you don't have those
like campus resources at hand like, like the campus library or I mean campus Wi Fi, or just
access to those professionals, you can go to their office, so, and yes, we have it virtually,
but it's just, it's not the same. Like I said, I like to have that more personal connection and
have a real conversation in person. And I think it just makes it a little harder, because you
have to figure out how to work around like family schedule, like you have have more
responsibilities here, you know, siblings, you got to make sure and if, like, if I'm the one
staying home with them, like I have to make sure I have to be the adult for them. And also
be a student and custodian cook and all the above
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 11:09
If we were allowed to go out back on campus, and let's say COVID. Today, introducing like
a vaccination and everything, which you go back on campus, if there is a lot more, I guess,
I should reassurance that it's gonna be safer for you.
Paul Garza 11:26
If there was like a lot more reassurance that it would be safe for them, I definitely would
go back to campus. But I would hope that St. Mary's would still take more precautions like
still respect, like social distancing, and maybe still require masks for a little bit.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 11:43
How do you think St. Mary's handled the COVID-19 situation? in general?
Paul Garza 11:50
I personally, I think they handled it really well. Well, like I've heard several different stories
about like public universities and bigger universities that didn't handle it. Well, I mean, like,
financially, academically. And so I felt like one implementing the pass no pass option, on
our first transition to online was very useful. And it kind of lowered the stress for us
knowing that, okay, this was understanding of our struggle as students. And then I really
appreciate that the school was able like to create funds, like a private fund for students in
case of emergency and I felt like, they really made it their job to like, reach out to us and
make sure that, like, all the students were doing, okay. And even our families were doing
okay.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 12:45
If you could, let's say, 20 years from now, you have your own kids, and you're talking to
them about your college experience doing COVID-19. What would you tell them?
Paul Garza 13:00
What would I tell them about like my college experience?
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 13:04
Yes
Paul Garza 13:06
I would tell them that it was like, sort of a pioneer experience, because we were part of
that those first students to go through this online, do these online time period in the
middle of the pandemic, like it just has never been done on I don't think on this scale, in at
least in the United States have, like so many kids going online. So I think I would be able to
say like, oh, like we were part of history, like we were the first ones to do this. So they really
a unique experience.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 13:50
And then my final question is, what are your hopes for campus life? And like, the types of
classes and after COVID-19 ends?
Paul 14:01
so I hope, after COVID-19 ends, I still would hope that we would be a little more conscious
now about, like, how many people are being they're like, are we providing their like, are
we providing sanitizer? Are we making sure we're making the right taking the right
precautions, so stuff like this doesn't happen again. But I would also hope that we get that
sense of normalcy back and just be able to have those more personal connections again,
with professors and classmates and just the whole student body in general.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 14:37
Is there anything else you would like to add about your college experience this year versus
last year?
Paul Garza 14:46
I do. I do. I would like to say that although, like things have changed drastically and there
was definitely like negative sides. I think there's still room for opportunity here. So we You
know, there's still time, there's still time to connect with other people and things, just being
able to take advantage of the situation and being able to do what you can while we're
online. So it's like, just join, we still try and be involved. So try to take advantage of the
opportunities that are there, apply to this, apply to that. Do whatever you can, because
even if we're online, like those opportunities are still there. And I think this is the perfect
time to take full advantage of it.
Bianca-Rhae Jacquez 15:27
Thank you, Paul.
Paul Garza 15:30
You're welcome.

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This item was submitted on November 25, 2020 by Bianca-Rhae Jacquez using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”: https://covid-19archive.org/s/archive

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