October 13, 2020
With distance learning lasting through the semester, students have begrudgingly adapted to the sedentary lifestyle of working from home. But as other students gripe and groan, Gurshaan “Gursh” Arora, ’19, doesn’t cry over spilled milk.
“I wasn’t sure how long shelter-in-place would last — but after a month of seeing how serious the situation was, I realized precautions would probably last for the rest of the year,” Gursh said.
Gursh decided on Foothill College as the affordable option for his family: The school offers free tuition and books to all students for their first two years. Another enticing factor was Foothill’s Transfer Admission Guarantee Program, which allows students a guaranteed transfer to most Universities of California (UCs) if they complete requirements according to their major.
“I knew that I’d be doing my undergrad classes regardless of where I went, so Foothill was the smarter option for me,” Gursh said. “It was a huge confidence boost knowing that I wouldn’t be behind my university-going peers in terms of progress, but would be doing the exact same classes for free.”
Gursh is currently majoring in biology and hopes to transfer to UC Davis’s pre-med program next fall to pursue a career in medicine.
Gursh has experienced Foothill both on and off campus, and although he prefers in-person learning and misses the social aspect, distance learning hasn’t been all bad for the rising sophomore. He sees the benefits of a remote education and hopes to encourage other students to recognize them as well.
“My family moved to Gilroy after my senior year of high school, so I used to have to commute an hour to Foothill — more during traffic,” Gursh said. “Now, I get the benefit of more time, not having to wake up early to beat traffic and saving gas!”
Gursh’s major was especially affected by distance learning due to the lack of in-person labs. Always the optimist, Gursh does not lament the loss but instead appreciates Foothill professors for replicating the in-person experience.
“I think there’s a lot of stress with in-person labs — constantly needing to make sure you’re doing everything according to procedure,” Gursh said. “In an online format, everything is rather simplified.”
Distance learning has taken on an unexpected role in Gursh’s life by becoming his muse. As an aspiring musician, he was inspired to create an original song in April of this year: “Zoom!” Instead of focusing solely on the downsides of shelter-in-place, Gursh finds silver linings by celebrating the community’s efforts to stop the spread of the virus. The song’s uplifting message ensured its victory in the Foothill COVID-19 Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest.
“I wrote ‘Zoom!’ to help everyone stay positive by highlighting the brighter side of things,” Gursh said. “My intention is to establish a positive viewpoint toward online learning while providing information about the tools that will help us all get through this quarter.”
Even under the grave circumstances of a pandemic, Gursh believes in the ability of his community to “Zoom through it” together.