With the new Mock Trial season approaching, the team has started to make preparations for a new, virtual setting.
Due to the pandemic, this season’s competitions will be held via Zoom. This change has added an extra layer to the coaches’ responsibilities.
“The biggest obstacle is that Ms. [Margaret] Ku and I, who coach the team, are so busy attempting to teach that we don’t get as much time as we normally would to devote [to communication],” adviser Latitia Thomas said.
Working with each other strictly through the computer makes the bonding process more difficult, according to the Mock Trial students.
“At first it was definitely an adjustment because a lot of us were used to in person practices,” sophomore Alexandra Chala said via Message. “Initially I was a bit apprehensive about our new practice schedule, but everyone on the team has been working really well together despite these new conditions.”
Although the team members are challenged with communicating virtually, those who have been on the team before have easily adapted to the online setting and don’t expect it to be a major issue.
“I have talked with my teammates a lot. Since I was on the team last year, I know a majority of the people on the team,” Chala said. “I think once we have our assigned roles we’ll be able to form better bonds with each other, but I would say we’re off to a great start.”
However, this isn’t the case for other members, with a few stating that maintaining consistent, open communication has been challenging.
“I feel like we have not talked enough honestly,” junior Eileen Zu said. “It’s harder to talk to each other because sometimes it can feel awkward in a breakout room but occasionally there are times where we can all talk to each other.”
Regardless, the main issue the team now faces is the risk of internet disconnections during competitions. Chala said she fears the extra levels of stress it could add for competitors, exacerbated by the fact that the Constitutional Rights Foundation, the organization they compete under, has yet to explicitly state their policies regarding technical issues.
At the moment, the team plans to have backups ready to switch in and finish anyone’s parts if they happen to suddenly disconnect. Strides are also being made by students to make sure their internet is running at the best quality possible during rounds. They do so by making sure there is minimal strain on their internet connection from other devices at home, among other
“Personally, I’m nervous about how I would do in a virtual format because occasionally my laptop would disconnect and I do not want that to happen in the middle of a round,” Zu said. “I am going to make sure no one is on the internet while we compete.”
Thomas and members of the team said they are confident that they will perform well this season despite changing conditions. Their first competition will take place in November.