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An Open Letter to Students Starting School in a Pandemic

Dear Students, 

I know what you’re thinking. How is it already that time of the year? The beginning of this year was spent reminiscing about our past and basically comprehending it was actually 2020. No one could expect that just a couple months down the road, it would turn into a nightmare of quarantine and lockdowns. For those that continued school remotely for the remainder of the school year, you probably know the struggle of online classes and the setbacks that come along with them. 

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There are always two sides to everything. Let's talk about both: the pros and the cons. 

The good news is that you are able to work from the comfort of your home without worrying about exposing yourself to the virus when traveling to and from classes and/or campus. The downside of that is the accessibility some students lack when it comes to privacy. Some homes are not equipped with the right materials and space for students to work comfortably. The best way to ensure your efficiency in school (if you absolutely cannot work from home) is to go to a local coffee shop or library to get productive. There is normally free WiFi at places like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or your community library. 

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There is a lot of stigma surrounding students that will be short of hands-on experiences this school year due to the pandemic. Although many opportunities have been narrowed due to institutions requiring social distancing, that does not mean that the rest of the semester is doomed! Everyone is working at their own pace, as best as they can. 

Attending classes online also ensures a sustainable way of learning. For the most part, there is no transportation or busy work to be passed out on paper, minimizing paper waste and carbon emissions in the atmosphere in college towns and cities. There is less stress on students to turn in a printed assignment and hoard papers for the entire semester. On that note, students should be more understanding towards teachers that are also adapting to the drastic change in the school year. They are adjusting their curriculum to fit the standard of online teaching just as students are preparing to remotely learn and do assignments at home. 

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At the end of the day, I think everyone should appreciate how hard everyone is trying to make this oddball of a school year...work. Teachers, professors and school administrators are doing everything they can to ensure that students return to a safe school environment. No matter how frustrating it can be to continue school through a laptop/phone/tablet screen, students should not lose faith in their ability to work just as hard at home compared to sitting in a crowded classroom for the safety of everyone. My parents always told me throughout school, “as long as you try your best, you will always succeed.” 

 

Victoria grew up in Northern Virginia and is a Junior at VCU this year. She is majoring in Mass Communications with a concentration in Digital Journalism and dreams of pursuing a career involved in Fashion Editing. She loves traveling, listening to music 24/7, and learning about new cultures.
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