How to learn by “Zooming” — from an engineer’s perspective

This quarter has been a whirlwind! From the first day of JOUR 462, my partner and I knew exactly the story we wanted to report on. One of Kate’s friends from high school had both of his parents fighting for their lives when they contracted COVID-19 at the beginning of spring quarter. Everything was going great with that story — until it wasn’t. After many failed interview attempts, Kate and I decided to shift our story on to a new subject. This was really difficult for us because we knew this story needed to be told, but there wasn’t time to get caught up on one that had fallen apart. We still feel disappointed that our original story didn’t come to fruition, but we know that the story we are now telling is also very important for current and incoming students. 

We didn’t have a hard time coming up with a new subject because, as senior journalism majors, we’ve been groomed to know not to just have one interview set up. During the first week, Kate reached out to her former roommate Makenzie to see if she’d be willing to talk to us about how her classes are going. She was more than happy to tell her story, which was a breath of fresh air for both of us. Not being able to interview in person wasn’t the best because you can get all of the natural sound of where your subject is. During our interviews, this was nonexistent. 

Our subject, Makenzie Kamei, is a senior mechanical engineer and has been doing all of her classes online in SLO. The conversations were great and it felt like she really opened up to us in the short few weeks that we communicated. Because of the virus, photos were not going to be easily accessible, but when I asked if she would take some she didn’t even hesitate to go the extra mile; she sent more than 20 high-res photos. She really gave us a good look into why she wanted to stay in SLO instead of living at home during this quarter. “I just kinda wanted to stay on the central coast for 10 more weeks and then hopefully, maybe if the shelter-in-place thing gets lifted, then I can see my friends and stuff here because we’re all in the same place for the last time,” Kamei said. 

Working together has never been more important. “This whole experience has made me really appreciate the small things,” Kate said. Kate and I really communicated well throughout these five weeks. The beginning was difficult and we felt let down by our original subject, but we moved on and the story we have now is even better. “Sometimes the best stories appear when you least expect them to,” Ken said.