Iris Fu: Preparing to graduate high school, start at Stanford during a pandemic

Iris Fu is a high school senior, graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

William Ross, News Contributor

This Q&A is the thirteenth in a 19-part series, “19 COVID-19 Stories,” updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, diving into the unique perspectives of the Corvallis community as they face COVID-19 and all its social and economic effects. 

Iris Fu is part of Crescent Valley High School’s class of 2020. Like many in the community, she has been at her house since the stay-at-home order. Even with being at home all day, Fu has been busy with zoom meetings for her upcoming year of college at Stanford University.


Has your school been doing online learning since COVID-19?

My school has set up online learning opportunities. The statewide policy is if you were passing a class by March then you would get a pass for the rest of the school year. If you were failing a class at the time, you still have the opportunity to pass by doing online activities. Like most of the seniors in my class, I am now done with high school. My AP classes however are having online tests which will be 45 minutes, and with open notes allowed.


Is there any disappointment about getting to miss out on your prom and potentially your high school graduation?

Definitely, I think graduation was the thing most people were looking forward to. High school graduation is a big deal and right now there is a lot of uncertainty around it. We don’t know if we will have the ceremony online or if they will schedule it for a later date along with our diplomas.  


Are you concerned about your upcoming year of college?

I know a big concern for a lot of students right now is if we will be able to go to college in the fall. A lot of us want to have that college experience and meet new people, and it will be hard to do that through online classes. I would love it if Stanford opened in person, but I understand that we have to put people’s health first. I know many people in my class are thinking of taking a gap year, if it comes down to online learning.   


What has your day-to-day been like?

I have been doing a lot of virtual events for admit week which would have been done at Stanford. With things being virtual now I’ve been going on so many zoom calls every single day. There have been club and activity fairs we can just drop into. With these virtual events I’ve been able to meet more of my peers and figure out what classes I may want to take, along with what clubs I may want to join. I’ve been getting more sleep and exercise since being back home. I have also been working remotely full-time for a startup. Other than that I have been making YouTube videos for fun, the channel’s name is Iris Fu. I challenged myself to upload a video a day for 100 days on topics of high school success, college applications, productivity and having a healthy lifestyle.


Has anything else been difficult for you since COVID-19?

I wanted to travel and I had to just cancel my plans. I also was wanting to visit my family in China before entering college, now I’m not sure if that will be able to happen.  


Have there been any positives out of all of this? 

My mom and I have been able to spend more time with each other since we are both home right now. I’ve had more time to do house and home gardening work, I now have 7 plants I’m taking care of. My neighbors have started to do a lot of yard work as well, which is very cool.


Is there anything you want people to know?

I think a lot of people have been supportive of one another and that’s beautiful to see. There is some racial and political tension that has risen as well, but even though all the negative people are still supporting one another. We are currently seeing how every country is dependent on one another. We are living in a truly globalized world right now, this means now more than ever is the time for us to support each other on a person to person level and a country to country level. If you are reading this I hope you can add even more positivity to the world and please remember to be kind.


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