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Ask the Alumni

Oct 20, 2020
Note: Our fall CPA IN Perspective magazine is digital — keep an eye out for new articles in our upcoming communications.

What is different about attending college this year?

  Ethan Villalba“My school experience is certainly out of the ordinary. I, along with most students at IU, are tested on a weekly basis. Most facilities on campus are operating at a limited capacity and reduced hours. It is almost as if the lifeblood of campus has been taken away. There is not as much activity on campus, in my opinion.

I am currently living in an apartment off campus with a few friends who are also students at IU. Most of my classes are held virtually, but I do have one in-person class that meets outside in a socially distant manner.

A lot of instructors have been utilizing the share screen feature on Zoom to make class lectures more engaging. For example, a professor will give a group a question to answer and one member of the group will share their screen to explain their answer to the class.”

—Ethan Villalba, junior at Indiana University – Bloomington, majoring in accounting and sports management



Dayon Gill"In 2020, school has been like the stock market: low points and high points. While staying at home, I’m taking all my classes online except once a week I have a class that meets in person. The lack of engagement has been hard; however, it is teaching me how to be self-disciplined.

I’ve been challenged to stay motivated while finishing up my pre-requisite courses. Despite the challenges, I appreciate my professors being even more available during this time, willing to help and guide me through the semester. Nevertheless, I am pressing forward and remaining faithful in the process.”

—Dayon Gill, sophomore at IUPUI, majoring in accounting and finance



INCPAS Scholar alum Lauren Pham“School is really different now that I take my classes online. We’re all adjusting to the situation and adapting to virtual classrooms. I’m currently living at home. I had a class that was supposed to be on campus, but my professor let me take it online instead.

It’s weird not seeing my peers or professors in a classroom, but it’s nice to not have to commute to campus twice a week. I get to wake up right before my classes start, grab my coffee and laptop, and log on to my Zoom session. When I’m done with my classes, I don’t have to drive home; I can just close my laptop and be done for the day.

There are pros and cons of having classes online, and most days the pros outweigh the cons. It does get challenging now that I don’t get to interact with as many people. I try to go outside between classes to have a change of scenery instead of staring at my laptop all day. My back-to-back class schedule can take a toll when I don’t take a break.

It can be hard to stay positive 24/7, but having hobbies helps. I have been doing a lot of DIY projects to keep myself relaxed this semester.

Something my professor does when teaching virtually that I really like is taking the time to make the class more relatable. We discuss current events or things going on in our lives at the moment. It makes the class more engaged instead of listening to a lecture for 75 minutes straight.”

—Lauren Pham, junior at IUPUI, majoring in accounting and finance



Jose Herrera“My school experience this semester is definitely one for the books. I am living on campus. Most of my classes are online, however I do have one class that is in person.

It by far has been one of the most challenging and different semesters I have ever experienced. It has been a complete learning curve and has taught me a lot of important aspects I used to take for granted before. Having to adapt and change the way I learn has also taught me what I am capable of and what works for me and what doesn’t. 

One thing my teacher does when teaching virtually that I really enjoy is having interactive questions that I can answer through polls or a chat box.”

—Jose Herrera, sophomore at Purdue University, majoring in accounting and finance



INCPAS Scholars is an award-winning, free program that encourages students to consider becoming a CPA. The only program of its kind, INCPAS Scholars introduces students to the profession by pairing them with practicing CPAs, touring CPA firms and businesses that employ CPAs, and participating in events to immerse them in the profession. You can support the program at

Want to get involved as an INCPAS Scholars mentor? Contact Ali Paul, CAE, for more information at