San Diego State University College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts

PSFA Student Q&A: Kelly Lopez

As we enter the fall ‘21 semester, the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts wants to know how students are adjusting. Read how School of Journalism and Media Studies’ Kelly Lopez reflects on a new and very different school year.

PSFA Student Q&A: Kelly Lopez

Kelly Lopez

by Gabriela Romero

September 27, 2021

1. How has your perspective on in-person learning changed since the pandemic began?

In-person learning was what seemed like the ideal, but that’s because online learning had never been an option before. I first felt like online learning would take away from my college experience and that personal interaction with my classmates and professors. Although, I found online learning to be more flexible with my schedule, my professors did a great job of building connections, by having students have their camera on, encouraging participation, and making online learning a safe space. Due to the pandemic, my perspective of online learning and in-person instruction definitely changed. I think there’s a lot of benefits that come from both, but I’ve come to realize that in-person learning might seem like the ideal, but it still holds many health concerns. However, thankfully we are one of the schools with the highest vaccination rate. I see in-person instruction as a privilege that I hope none of us take for granted. We’re being given the opportunity to go back to what we know as “normal;” of course, with some regulations but at least we have the option.

2. What did online learning teach you about your learning style and time management?

Online learning taught me a lot more about time management and prioritizing. I made it a purpose to change small things in my routine, like sitting at my desk instead of doing class in bed, or taking that extra time before and after class to review the material covered. This helped me stay fully engaged with the professor and the material being taught. I learned that my planner was my best friend and that now more than ever GroupMe was the best form of communication to engage with classmates and help one another succeed in the class. This experience taught me that online learning provides me with different resources. Being in-person doesn’t give me the opportunity to rewind and hear what the professor said. I liked that I had the option to re-watch the lectures. While I was doing online learning I had more flexibility in my schedule and was able to work a full-time job, while still staying on top of my school work and other responsibilities. I learned to make time for everything, I learned how to crochet, I started playing video games, I had to make time for chores, spending time with family, taking care of my niece and nephew, doing school, and going to work. It took a lot of determination, and discipline to be able to manage it all. Overall, online learning taught me that learning how to prioritize and staying organized can help you accomplish many things in a day.

3. What is your favorite part about being on campus for classes?

Being on campus is exciting because I can finally have those physical interactions with my professors and classmates. It helps putting a face to a name and getting to build relationships beyond a screen. In addition, I get to continue to expand the connections I made prior to leaving school. I get to have the “college experience,” that I missed out on, whether that be joining clubs, making new friends, attending different events, or having access to all the different resources the school has to offer, I’m excited to be back on campus!

4. What has been the biggest challenge or adjustment you have experienced this fall?

Fall semester just began and to be quite honest the only burden I’ve experienced is financially, COVID-19 really impacted my family’s income. I’m a first generation college student, with a single-mother. My mother has taken on many roles in her life, a caregiver, a provider, and a fighter. She’s done a little bit of everything to provide me with the best future, from selling bread, doing hair and makeup on the weekends, working at a cleaners, and now cleaning houses. That woman has taught me the definition of perseverance, and although COVID-19 put a set-back on us, it also gave me the opportunity to save some money by living at home in Orange County, CA during my sophomore year. This fall she wanted me to transfer out of SDSU and go to a school closer to home because of the financial expenses. Some may call me stubborn, or wonder why I chose SDSU to begin with, and that’s because it always happened to be one of my dream schools. Financial Aid and scholarships allowed me to have my first year of school fully covered. I convinced my mom that it was possible to attend SDSU the following year, as long as I was able to get a job to cover the expenses that Financial Aid or my scholarship money didn’t cover. That is how I ended up at SDSU, and I’m grateful for having the opportunity to be here, but I now have to pay for rent, bills, and other expenses.

5. How are you setting yourself up for success this school year? What resources or techniques are you using?

I’m setting myself for success this academic school year by simply staying organized and disciplined. I am doing my best to graduate this academic school year, and I’m using My Map, along with my Degree Evaluation in order to make sure I’m on the right track for that. As well as using the different resources the School of Journalism offers, such as the webinars that help me stay engaged and learn about the different career paths that may be available for me after college. It also helps me gain new skills that I may add to my tool box.

6. What are the perks of your school schedule?

I get to sleep in, sometimes…

7. What is your favorite place on campus?

I have good memories in the Chicano section inside the library. I think it’s also known as the LRC, the Latinx Resource Center. I’ve cried in there over a stats class my freshman year, I’ve made really good friends, and still go there to work on some homework whenever I want a change of scenery.

8. Do you have any faculty you would like to shout out for going above and beyond to make your online or in-person experience especially valuable?

Professor Kimball Taylor is the BEST! Our interaction’s over Zoom were short because he was my lab professor, but he really made me look at print journalism through a different perspective. When it comes to writing, he gives students the opportunity to explore their passions and provides students with the necessary skills to become better writers. He would always be having open discussions about assignments and encouraging student engagement. I appreciated having a welcoming face that was always open to answering questions, working to help students succeed, and teaching us students how to be better journalists.

The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.

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