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Coronavirus & Academia 2020


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Hi all! I'm a newly accepted grad student and journalist who has been speaking with folks -- students mostly -- to get a sense of how they feel and what they're anticipating for the fall. I'd love to speak with as many students (including international students), faculty, and administrators for a story I'm working on. In these times, I'm also trying to keep work as a freelancer so I can stay active and afloat. I'd love to hear from you all! Feel free to message me.

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As a faculty member, this week has been overwhelming and chaotic for us all. Given how scared and uncertain students (and faculty) have felt this week, having recently learned of the existence of Grad

I think at this point it's still really early and we should all do our best to not fall down the speculation rabbit hole. If it's still a problem come summer I'm sure plans will be made, but there is

Hey All, I might be a little ridiculous but has anyone been thinking about the Coronavirus and how it may affect the start of Fall 2020 for those who have been admitted to programs? Especially, t

Hi All,

does anyone know if there will be any changes to the application timeline given the circumstances? I'm still waiting to hear on two schools and holding 1 offer. It feels a little callous to reach out right now and ask, but I'm also getting really antsy as April 1st gets closer. Any advice?

For context, I haven't seen anyone else post about getting into one of the schools I'm waiting for and I know that Im the first alternate for the other school. 

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4 minutes ago, FingersCrossed58 said:

Hi All,

does anyone know if there will be any changes to the application timeline given the circumstances? I'm still waiting to hear on two schools and holding 1 offer. It feels a little callous to reach out right now and ask, but I'm also getting really antsy as April 1st gets closer. Any advice?

For context, I haven't seen anyone else post about getting into one of the schools I'm waiting for and I know that Im the first alternate for the other school. 

Yes ask! Don’t worry, programs are still running and making decisions. Let them know the situation and you are holding an offer and want to make a a decision.

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3 hours ago, FingersCrossed58 said:

Hi All,

does anyone know if there will be any changes to the application timeline given the circumstances? I'm still waiting to hear on two schools and holding 1 offer. It feels a little callous to reach out right now and ask, but I'm also getting really antsy as April 1st gets closer. Any advice?

For context, I haven't seen anyone else post about getting into one of the schools I'm waiting for and I know that Im the first alternate for the other school. 

Reach out and ask. I did for a school I hadn't received funding info from and they reassured me they were hoping I would attend and sent my financial offer two days later. 

I did state that I was aware there were other priorities with covid 19, but I wanted to check in due to the April 15th decision date being so close. I think it's very reasonable to check in at this point.

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I’ve been looking for the right thread to post this question so I guess I’ll try it here. I formally accepted an offer in doctoral program but now I’m getting increasingly concerned due to the fact that the state’s response has to the coronavirus has been poor at best and the university has gone exclusively to online learning. I’m concerned that the pandemic will last between 18-24 months and with that it would be a big detriment to my doctoral studies. Would it make more sense to defer until spring or fall and to continue working in my career or should I go ahead and start the program? 

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6 hours ago, DwayneCarter93 said:

I’ve been looking for the right thread to post this question so I guess I’ll try it here. I formally accepted an offer in doctoral program but now I’m getting increasingly concerned due to the fact that the state’s response has to the coronavirus has been poor at best and the university has gone exclusively to online learning. I’m concerned that the pandemic will last between 18-24 months and with that it would be a big detriment to my doctoral studies. Would it make more sense to defer until spring or fall and to continue working in my career or should I go ahead and start the program? 

Start the program

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Making a decision about which grad school to attend is so difficult and even more when revisits got cancelled and there is lots of uncertainty due to COVID19. I love to take classes in person and thinking about the possibility to start grad school and take classes on zoom and possibly not able to do in person lab rotation is a bit discouraging and it makes me so anxious.  I hope by August all this is already resolved.

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On 3/18/2020 at 2:24 PM, Psyche007 said:

I've taken online classes before and it really depends on the subject. Personally, I thrive in the classroom, debate and discussion being one of my favourite activities.

This semester, three of our classes are heavily reliant on roleplay: Adult Intervention I, Diagnostic Interviewing, and Pre-Practicum.

Pre-practicum is a Pass/Fail class that is based ENTIRELY on working with simulated patients. It's to get neophyte clinicians comfortable working with people face-to-face. Many of the 1st years, especially the PsyDs who are often young and either directly or recently out of undergrad, have never done so before. This boggles the mind. I don't think you can know how much you'll enjoy clinical practice if you haven't worked with people before. It's a little less relevant for the PhDs because you can forgo licensure and practice to stay in research, but you still have to complete 2 years of practica and a year in internship to graduate.

I'm hoping they don't try to run the roleplay sessions via video conferencing. I hate talking on the phone as it is.

I thought I would chime in as I have just completed a Psychology MA through Pepperdine, which was entirely online.  I feel that it is important to note that my experience was my experience, but hopefully this will help to instill some hope about what may become more normal for future learning. 

If the professor was committed to an interactive, enriching environment, then the online classroom afforded that. (side note: we were initially using Adobe Connect and switched to Zoom a few semesters in, I believe)  We as students were able to not only learn a great deal, we were also able to truly connect with our fellow classmates and professors.  When the professor crafted this type of learning environment, we were able to debate and discuss fairly seamlessly.  For some specific insight: the first day of each course, the professor, if fostering an interactive room, typically outlined how they preferred us to interact.  Some professors utilized the hand-raising tool, some preferred we physically raise our hands, and some just paid attention to when we would unmute ourselves, taking it as a cue that we would like to share.  I was especially (happily!) surprised by the bonds that were able to form given the medium.  We forged meaningful relationships with each other, bridging age spans (I am 45 and most of my classmates who I consider close friends now are in their 20s and very early 30s), differing locations (we were spread all over the US and also had a handful of over-seas classmates), and more. 

I also wanted to share my experience with role-playing over the online medium.  Because it was our normal, role-playing felt very comfortable on Zoom.  Sometimes we did this in the main classroom with all of us and sometimes we were grouped and assigned to break-out rooms.  That said, even thinking about it now, I think I would be more intimidated to role-play in person, but again, I attribute that to my version of normal.  Similar to how it will be for me when I need to adjust to role-playing in person, I would guess there will be some awkward, potentially uncomfortable moments as those of you transition from in-person to online.  Not to be too rah-rah over here, but I know we will all be ok.  (at least this is what I keep telling myself 😊)

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to message me directly.  Stay safe out there.

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This is something I’ve been worried about since I know I do better with in person learning. Right now I live with family who have compromised immune systems so it’s been so stressful along with being out of work. Stay safe everyone.

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22 hours ago, Chugwater2020 said:

I thought I would chime in as I have just completed a Psychology MA ...

... anyone has any questions, please feel free to message me directly.  Stay safe out there.

Thank you for your perspective.

I'm also in my 40s, haha.

I had taken online classes during undergrad, but they did not involve any live meetings using conferencing applications. They were essay, exam, and discussion board based. I only took those classes if they were only offered online (Medical Terminology, Essentials of Pharmacology) or an area of little interest to me (Principles of Management, Social Psych).

I dislike talking on the phone as it is, let alone Skype. I also struggle with staring at the computer screen all day long. Personally, I wouldn't have signed up for a fully online programme, but hey, here we are. It won't be like this forever, it's just somewhat frustrating, especially doing exams with Lockdown/Respondus. It means having to reorganize my work area.

The university is using Zoom and we have to continue our role-plays with simulated patients on it. There's just so much missing when you're not in the room with someone. Part of developing clinical intuition is the unconscious detection of NVC, etc, that gives you a feeling to explore. It's much easier to attend to the patient when face-to-face. I'm easily distracted at my desk, by my dogs barking, people in the house, workers outside, etc. The professors are learning to use this, and as some don't even lecture from slides and have their TAs do all their online work (some profs hate technology), it's quite an adjustment. Luckily, APA is being very flexible with accreditation during this time, as our programme was recently re-approved for the current maximum (10 years).

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I struggle to connect with a screen, being used to working face-to-face with people for some time.

I'm complaining, I'm grumpy, I'm irritated. I'm sure we all are, to some degree. It's time to practice radical acceptance: accepting reality without condoning it. 

Stay safe and don't get 'rona, people.

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7 hours ago, Cece93 said:

This is something I’ve been worried about since I know I do better with in person learning. Right now I live with family who have compromised immune systems so it’s been so stressful along with being out of work. Stay safe everyone.

The financial impacts are very real and affect many of us. It's an additional stress that everyone could do without, certainly.

Good luck with everything, hope it works out for the best.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Same, Actually I've been thinking quite a bit about it for a couple of reasons. One, I was supposed to apply last cycle so if I did and got into a program, I would be in a completely different position trying to figure out all the visas (ex: for international students) and travel things like some of the comments said. The other reason is because now everything is temporarily halted,  including my new research volunteer position (which was supposed to start last month with the beginning of the school year here in the country reside in), I don't even know if applying this coming cycle is worth the time. I graduated in Spring of 2019 and I though two years of gap year is good enough for me but as the corona virus situation only gets worse each day, I'm a little bit stressed out thinking about taking one more year to make up the lack of research productivity up until now. 

All things aside, I feel really sorry for everyone whose plans had to be changed bc of this novel coronavirus. I can't even imagine how anxious they would feel now. 

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One things that has changed is the level of direct scrutiny many professors seem to want over students now that we're virtual.

It's exaggerated far beyond what you'd experience in a normal in-person class.

There's an insistence on keeping webcams on, can't be seen to use phones/tablets while 'in class', can't be seen to be working on something other than the classwork, using a webcam recording service to record exams, plus new restrictions on exams: not being able to read questions to oneself out loud, can't look away from the screen, can't read through an entire exam prior to beginning, and can't move back and forth between questions.

This isn't for every exam yet, considering we've only had one online exam so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was adopted as a 'standard'.

It's just an additional level of stress that's really unnecessary right now.

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2 hours ago, Psyche007 said:

One things that has changed is the level of direct scrutiny many professors seem to want over students now that we're virtual.

It's exaggerated far beyond what you'd experience in a normal in-person class.

There's an insistence on keeping webcams on, can't be seen to use phones/tablets while 'in class', can't be seen to be working on something other than the classwork, using a webcam recording service to record exams, plus new restrictions on exams: not being able to read questions to oneself out loud, can't look away from the screen, can't read through an entire exam prior to beginning, and can't move back and forth between questions.

This isn't for every exam yet, considering we've only had one online exam so far, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was adopted as a 'standard'.

It's just an additional level of stress that's really unnecessary right now.

Oh wow, that has not been my experience at all. We are also using Zoom, but faculty have expressed that turning the camera on is our choice entirely. They have also been recording the lecture in the event that someone was not able to log on so the still got the lecture. They have definitely been very understanding during this time. 

We had an exam recently, and we were on Zoom during it, but only because the professor wanted us to be able to ask him questions we may have had. All of us had our camera and mic off during the exam and then turned them on after submitting the exam and going over a few more things. 

I suppose it really depends on the faculty. I know our department chair has also stressed flexibility, as many of our undergrads come from underserved communities (we're a state school). 

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Not to add to the panic, but if there are some of you still holding offers and waiting to make a decision, it might be a good idea to make that decision in the immediate future. My university (public RI, typically five years fully-funded) just rescinded funding offers to those who hadn't yet accepted. Additionally, grads were told today that it was very likely they would not receive department funding after this academic year given the economic impact of the pandemic on the university.

I want to emphasize that this wasn't the program's decision--we're all in shock; these decisions were made at the executive level. 

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14 hours ago, AndHereWeAre said:

Not to add to the panic, but if there are some of you still holding offers and waiting to make a decision, it might be a good idea to make that decision in the immediate future. My university (public RI, typically five years fully-funded) just rescinded funding offers to those who hadn't yet accepted. Additionally, grads were told today that it was very likely they would not receive department funding after this academic year given the economic impact of the pandemic on the university.

I want to emphasize that this wasn't the program's decision--we're all in shock; these decisions were made at the executive level. 

Yup, I just experienced this. I was on quite a few waitlist and have just received two emails in the past hour that no additional offers will be made because of freezes on spending which is very heartbreaking.

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19 hours ago, AndHereWeAre said:

Not to add to the panic, but if there are some of you still holding offers and waiting to make a decision, it might be a good idea to make that decision in the immediate future. My university (public RI, typically five years fully-funded) just rescinded funding offers to those who hadn't yet accepted. Additionally, grads were told today that it was very likely they would not receive department funding after this academic year given the economic impact of the pandemic on the university.

I want to emphasize that this wasn't the program's decision--we're all in shock; these decisions were made at the executive level. 

That is so disheartening. :( I can't imagine having an acceptance and then having it taken away.

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On 4/9/2020 at 9:57 AM, AndHereWeAre said:

Not to add to the panic, but if there are some of you still holding offers and waiting to make a decision, it might be a good idea to make that decision in the immediate future. My university (public RI, typically five years fully-funded) just rescinded funding offers to those who hadn't yet accepted. Additionally, grads were told today that it was very likely they would not receive department funding after this academic year given the economic impact of the pandemic on the university.

I want to emphasize that this wasn't the program's decision--we're all in shock; these decisions were made at the executive level. 

This is so terrifying. I'm so sorry to hear about this. I hope your position is okay!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm in the middle of my program but the biggest thing I'm worried about is conferences getting cancelled :(

If I was a STEM major or other major that needed to work in a lab to do my work and research, I would be a lot more anxious. 

But I'm sitting on a pile of data I already gathered and just writing it up all summer. My foreseeable research projects will not require travel or in-person anything, except perhaps needing library access and ours is closed. That would suck. 

I feel for everyone who is supposed to start this fall. What a very strange time to begin graduate school. Nothing will be the same, but you won't know any different.

I wish you all good luck.

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1 hour ago, Psychological Yam said:

i'm definitely concerned that my school might push back us starting until winter quarter (jan 2021)! anxiously waiting to hear any solid information before i uproot and move my life this summer.

right exactly -- when will they start to make these decisions? should we even be looking at apartments...?

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11 hours ago, Psychological Yam said:

i'm definitely concerned that my school might push back us starting until winter quarter (jan 2021)! anxiously waiting to hear any solid information before i uproot and move my life this summer.

 

10 hours ago, psychpsychpsych said:

right exactly -- when will they start to make these decisions? should we even be looking at apartments...?

I can't imagine they would completely postpone courses, though I'm not sure. I work for a university in CA now and they are discussing the possibility of having all courses online for fall semester. Though, it might be different for graduate level courses? 

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14 hours ago, Psychological Yam said:

i'm definitely concerned that my school might push back us starting until winter quarter (jan 2021)! anxiously waiting to hear any solid information before i uproot and move my life this summer.

I would be pretty surprised if any universities did this. My program is in the US epicenter of all this and we are potentially going to still be online in the fall, but no word has been officially announced. I don't believe there has been any consideration to just canceling the fall semester as a whole. 

13 hours ago, psychpsychpsych said:

right exactly -- when will they start to make these decisions? should we even be looking at apartments...?

They will start making these decisions when they have all the facts. While classes can be conducted online, in-person is definitely the preferred method. Universities are going to want to cover all their bases and not make any firm decisions until they are absolutely certain this is the best course of action. Doubling back is never a good look, so they would rather wait a bit and have more information. The COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly and states are figuring out what works best for themselves and the surrounding areas. The hardest hit states are just now thinking about a plan for re-opening and as far as I've seen, nothing has officially been announced by the Northeast 6 state council, which includes NY. Other areas that haven't been hit as hard may have different plans and timelines as well. I understand it's frustrating, but states don't want to open back up too early only to have an influx of cases, and they certainly don't want to keep things shut down longer than necessary. 

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14 hours ago, justacigar said:

 

I can't imagine they would completely postpone courses, though I'm not sure. I work for a university in CA now and they are discussing the possibility of having all courses online for fall semester. Though, it might be different for graduate level courses? 

 

11 hours ago, PsyDuck90 said:

I would be pretty surprised if any universities did this. My program is in the US epicenter of all this and we are potentially going to still be online in the fall, but no word has been officially announced. I don't believe there has been any consideration to just canceling the fall semester as a whole. 

They will start making these decisions when they have all the facts. While classes can be conducted online, in-person is definitely the preferred method. Universities are going to want to cover all their bases and not make any firm decisions until they are absolutely certain this is the best course of action. Doubling back is never a good look, so they would rather wait a bit and have more information. The COVID-19 situation is changing so rapidly and states are figuring out what works best for themselves and the surrounding areas. The hardest hit states are just now thinking about a plan for re-opening and as far as I've seen, nothing has officially been announced by the Northeast 6 state council, which includes NY. Other areas that haven't been hit as hard may have different plans and timelines as well. I understand it's frustrating, but states don't want to open back up too early only to have an influx of cases, and they certainly don't want to keep things shut down longer than necessary. 

thank you, you both bring up good points!

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