A little over a year ago, I moved out of my freshman year dorm due to a pandemic. You may have heard of it… COVID-19? No? Well, Anyways, this pandemic happened to move into town just days before Spring Break was supposed to happen, but because of all the uncertainty and unknown around it, the school announced we would have a two-week spring break. We were all so excited, but deep down, we were also scared we wouldn’t come back. That fear became a reality when another announcement came out: we would be moving online for the rest of the school year.
My classes became exceedingly harder. Classes shifted to zoom, but how can you teach a photography class online, especially when half the equipment used for the class was still on campus? Needless to say, the classes I paid for were not at all what I expected or what I was hoping to get out of it. It was hard to adapt to online classes, as many students were in places where there was little to no WiFi, or if you were like me, you moved back home, where the only place to do your classes was in your room. For me, that made it hard to focus, as well as having an iffy internet connection. You can imagine the excitement when we were told we’d be going back to campus in the fall. The University decided that they would give us a pass/no pass option so that our classes wouldn’t ruin our GPA, and many students opted for that choice.
I was ecstatic to see my friends, the football stadium again; just being on campus was exhilarating. I was looking forward to my classes being in person again since I learned better that way, but after about two weeks, everything moved back online. The nice professors allowed students to use open notes, books, and some even gave us study guides we could use, and although that’s helpful now… what happens when we really do return to in-person classes? We won’t know how to study, not to mention it can help to smother our motivation. On the other hand, the not-so-nice professors gave out more homework, didn’t allow study guides or open notes, and some didn’t put grades in until November. My university extended our drop deadline, but that didn’t help after your final grades came out, and they decided not to offer the pass/no pass grading option this semester, even though not much changed. Students were trying to relearn how to learn in ways that work for them while still learning in multiple classes.
Now, I’m going into my third semester during a pandemic, and they have lessened the help once again. Drop deadlines are going back to normal, and grades are expected to go back to normal; everything will be normal except our classes. Not to mention, this semester alone, our resources have been somewhat unreliable. The site we use to do our classes crashed during one of my classes, and while people were in exams, and then about a week later, the internet was down for hours, obviously putting any student on campus behind in their class schedules.
Technology is only good when it’s working, and education is only good when students are learning. Although study guides, extra help, and so on are super nice right now for students who learn better in person, those will go away when classes resume in lecture halls again. Then, students will have to learn how to learn once again, and that’s never super easy. I’m not saying college should be easy either. When students enrolled, they knew it wouldn’t be like high school, but we didn’t know that a pandemic would take so much away from us, including our learning skills.