College In A Pandemic: Natasha Cruz

Natasha Cruz is a Irvington High School alumni studying graphic design at Ohlone College.

Isabella Lam

Natasha Cruz is a Irvington High School alumni studying graphic design at Ohlone College.

Currently, I’m studying graphic design as my major. I’m hoping to eventually become a professional graphic designer and maybe have a minor in illustration. I decided to attend Ohlone College due to it being a much more affordable college, and now I’m pretty glad I made my decision especially due to the pandemic going on. Why spend an extravagant amount of money on tuition when you’re taking the same general ed online classes as you would in community then eventually transfer to a university? 

College is a lot different than high school in the sense that you get to plan out all your classes in your schedule. Planning out my own school schedule in order to balance out working at my job; it’s incredibly helpful. And coming from someone who is generally pretty introverted, being in online classes has made things less nerve wracking for me. I haven’t really made any new friends yet because of this though, which is a little bit sad. I haven’t had any opportunities to really talk to anyone in my classes because of Covid-19. At the very least, I’ve continued keeping in touch with a few of my high school friends. 

I honestly thought college was going to be a lot scarier. I thought I would have trouble keeping up with the workload, and I’d end up getting overwhelmed. But honestly, the professors I’ve had have been really helpful and supportive, and it’s been really easy learning with them. Being able to replay Zoom lectures makes note-taking a lot easier if you missed anything, having breakout rooms makes student-teacher communication more efficient and private, and I get to have my camera off which makes things less uncomfortable. 

Due to the pandemic, there’s a lot of activities and classes I was unable to take part in that I initially wanted to. Things like choir and theater, which I loved in high school, are basically gone from my life right now. I would be able to audition for all the plays and musicals at college if not for the pandemic. I also miss being in a choir; it was a personal choice to not join the school choir just because I wouldn’t want to have my first experience with their program be online. 

As for personal growth, I feel as though I’ve been a lot better at being organized and attentive during classes since I don’t have to get up so early. And emotionally, I’ve been doing a lot better since I’ve had more time to focus on taking care of myself and fixing my own issues. I’m actively working on projects for my graphic design class that I’m having a lot of fun with too; learning is a lot more enjoyable when you’re in classes on subjects that you’re actually passionate about, and I love that aspect of college.