Off-Campus Learning: Balancing Home and School Life


For those that stayed home, this semester was one of learning to balance work, family distractions, social lives and school work all at once. For some, this posed concerns; for others, it created opportunities.

Kapp Hinds '23

Sophomore Kapp Hinds arrived home in St. Louis, Missouri, immediately looking for a job. Starting in March, Hinds worked for Amazon, picking up another job at Hibbett Sports in June. According to Hinds, the beginning of his sophomore year “was just really shaky.”

“Overall the learning for virtual is alright. At times I feel like I'm not learning much, but I am trying my best to learn everything,” Hinds said.

Though Hinds has found it more difficult to learn everything from home, he added that the off-campus experience has taught him life skills like balancing his two jobs, his Bonner Scholar and full-time student responsibilities, and his dedication to his music. 

“I miss my friends at school as I think about how times were last year,” Hinds said.

Lindsey Schwomeyer ‘21

Senior Lindsey Schwomeyer in Indianapolis, Indiana also misses her friends and finds home life to be more work than usual. For Schwomeyer, being off-campus “is definitely lonelier and certainly not as fun, but I’m lucky to get to spend more time with my family than I ever thought.”

As far as school work goes, she agrees that there’s more to juggle from home. “I have different responsibilities when I'm home, in normal times, but especially now during a pandemic. There is also a complete lack of separation between work and relaxation, since I tune in to class and do homework and sleep all in my same room,” Schwomeyer said.

However, Schwomeyer said, “it’s not all bad,” adding that she has had the opportunity to volunteer for those at higher risk of getting Covid-19.

Lindsey Schwomeyer ‘21 zooming friends

“I have also developed a different appreciation for quality time - whereas before a message from a friend was nice, now it truly means everything to me since someone thought of me in the midst of all this bizarre mess,” Schwomeyer said.

Luis Martinez ‘23

Sophomore Luis Martinez in Chicago, Illinois has also been helping those around him, taking care of his mother who tore her meniscus early on in the pandemic and hasn’t healed properly. Martinez also balances 40-hour work weeks to pay for school while taking classes on top of that.

“Being on campus allows for you to forget everything at home and focus on that world, while being at home rarely gives you time to breathe,” Martinez said. “I do miss being on campus a lot of the time, but not specifically the campus. I really miss the people I created bonds with. You could throw us anywhere and I’d be happy, doesn’t just have to be at DePauw.”

Kelly Garcia, '21

Other off-campus students have had very positive experiences, however, such as senior Kelly Garcia. Garcia, in Zionsville, Indiana, feels “pretty lucky to have had a positive experience being home for the semester.”

Garcia's "Remote Classroom"

Balancing school work and her internship for the admissions office, she has not had time for much else. Nevertheless, Garcia has established a solid routine around her work, school work, exercise and time with family.

Fortunately, the extra time with family has not been too much of a distraction for Garcia.

“I think my family members have been pretty understanding about me getting my school work done and needing time and space away in order to do that,” Garcia said.

While these students had different experiences this semester, they all agree that there is less of a capacity for social life at home due to factors such as lack of time amid schoolwork and additional jobs, distance from their friends, and of course Covid-19 regulations.