Wednesday, Jan. 27 marked the first day of class for the spring semester on campus.
The bright weather throughout the day Wednesday mirrored the sunny dispositions of all those walking around campus. Chants of “FDOC” appreciation echoed around the quad and all-over social media.
On Hearn Plaza, students sat at shaded wooden tables, the quiet chatter from their first Zoom class of the semester pouring out into crisp winter air. The sidewalks, while not as populated as they were at the same time a year ago, were still peppered with students and professors walking at varying paces to their respective classes.
Brigid McNamara, a junior economics major, works at the Benson Information Desk and says that in previous semesters, she was used to seeing crowds of people passing through the building every day.
Though students might stream through Benson in normal times, that was not the case this semester.
“I opened up Benson this morning and a few people were trickling in and out,” McNamara said. “Things are not normal, but I am hopeful as vaccines get distributed, we’ll get closer to what school usually looks like.”
When asked about how her first day of class went, she adjusted the mask on her face and leaned forward on the desk, eyes crinkling.
“I didn’t even have class today,” she said, laughing. “I am in one blended class that meets in-person once a week. Other than that, my other three classes are completely online.”
But not all class schedules are created equal.
Silvia Tiboni-Craft, an Assistant Teaching Professor of Italian, is teaching all three of her classes this semester in person. Today, she taught her first lecture-style class in the basement of Scales, a short walk from the Italian department’s headquarters in Greene Hall.
“Faculty members were given the choice to select the course modality that they felt most comfortable with,” Tiboni-Craft said. “Last semester, I decided to do partly-online courses. But because I am only teaching three classes this semester, I chose to teach them all in-person.”
“I like teaching in-person better,” she continued. “There is a better interaction with students that way and I feel quite safe on campus. Honestly, I think that things will improve going forward, too. I am a very positive person — these days, you have to be!”
Josie Luizzi, a sophomore from Brookfield, Connecticut echoed Tibonni-Craft’s optimistic feelings.
While Luizzi is now a sophomore at Wake Forest, this will be the first semester of her sophomore year on campus. Last semester, Luizzi chose to take classes at home.
When asked about her return to Mother So Dear, Luizzi remarked that, although all of her classes on FDOC were on Zoom, she felt much more focused on campus.
“I sat and took all three of my classes today sitting next to my friend outside,” she said. “There is something special about just being on campus — it’s much easier to focus than it is at home, too.”
Luizzi also commented on how happy her peers looked to be back on campus for the spring.
“It is so nice because you can still recognize people with their masks on,” she said. “At least three people came up to me and told me how happy they were to see me. It was so kind.”
With the spring semester officially underway, students and faculty are optimistic that the next few months will prove just meaningful as last semester.
“A lot of my friends said I didn’t miss much being gone last semester,” Luizzi finished. “But I don’t think I believe them.”