Photo credit: Dr. Cynthia Moody, @cyn9771
It’s hard to believe that Covid-19 has been dramatically impacting our lives for about eight months now and that 2020 only has two months left. From lock downs to quarantine, social distancing and face masks, online classes and zoom meetings, we’ve seen a change in our day to day lives like no other generation before us.
As college students, we’ve felt the ups and downs of this pandemic from multiple angles. As young Americans holding down minimum wage jobs, it was our age group that got let go due to being nonessential employees. On top of that, one of the biggest concerns the country faced when reopening was how to proceed with schools. While most were thinking of grades K-12, colleges had to also transition to online or hybrid platforms.
College students’ got a double dose of the shut down, worrying about getting their jobs back to pay for the education that now must be translated on an online platform. And while it’s a safer alternative, many students have been struggling.
One student, Darian Anderson, a nursing major, had a rough time with scheduling her classes and communicating with an advisor. “I had so many issues setting up classes that I was pretty much last and they put me in them” said Anderson.
The troubles didn’t end there. Many first time college students aren’t used to dealing with heavy finances on their own and being able to go to the financial office to ask for help isn’t an option anymore. This is Anderson’s first semester at CF and she’s going through the same ordeal.
“I don’t know what’s going on cause I have no one to help me. I’m doing it all on my own” said Anderson.
Rachelle Levenson is also a new student to CF and agrees with Anderson on how Covid-19 has drastically affected college students. “I think it made it increasingly difficult for first time college students doing everything online, because it’s like you’re never really going to get the full experience,” said Levenson.
There has also been a majority of students struggling with self motivation and not procrastinating their work. Being in a classroom not only helps one understand the teacher better, but it also applies a certain amount of pressure to the student to actually concentrate.
“I learn better in person when I have no other distractions than being in class,” said Brianna McKeever, who is going on her third year at CF. “I enjoy being able to go to class and see the friends I had made and we would all help each other through the class.”
When students are around their peers they want to impress their friends or at least not be further behind the majority of the class. This provides a higher level of motivation than simply a due date. A motivation that is no longer there.
For Kyle McKeever, who is scheduled to start classes at CF in the spring, this is his biggest concern. “Pros for online classes, social distancing. Cons, in my opinion, it’s harder to stay focused, you procrastinate, internet problems, and lack of motivation” said McKeever.
When asked if he would be in support of in-person classes resuming he responded with, “In my opinion classes should be resumed in-person as soon as possible.”
While this may be the view of some students, it is not so for all. Joel Newell, a Dual Enrollment economics major, has been keeping an eye on positive Covid-19 tests in Florida colleges and local high schools. When asked about his thoughts on reopening CF, he made his opinion very clear.
“I think they should just stop now, because in personal context West Port High School has already quarantined 110 students and to CF’s capacity, it would be even worse” said Newell.
Even so, Newell does agree that students are learning to memorize information, not actually learn it, and simply forget everything right after the exam has been taken with the online platform. “But I would also say that I am able to understand material, just with a little more work,” said Newell.
While the voices and opinions of students are many and varying, one clarified a lot for students curious about what the spring semester has in store. CF President Dr. Jim Henningsen recently sent an email to faculty and staff explaining the steps of Phase II reopening for the CF campus. His email is as written below.
“As our community, state and nation move toward more in-person interaction, the college will shift to Phase II of our reopening plan. On Monday, Oct. 12, many, but not all, CF employees will return to campus work spaces beginning that day. The COVID-19 Task Force and our District Board of Trustees support this action, which demonstrates to our students and community that we are moving forward. Health and safety are paramount, and we will continue to follow all CDC and health department guidelines.
“Most student services will be open on campuses and will provide face-to-face interactions primarily by appointment. Virtual student services will continue to be available. The Learning Resources Centers will be open for individual study, computer use, and printing. Libraries will facilitate reference library services by request while continuing to promote virtual library instruction and electronic resources with item circulation requests via email to [email protected] Learning Support Center staff will continue to tutor virtually and offer limited in-person tutoring services scheduled through [email protected]
“Our classes will continue in their current modalities through the fall semester, and we will soon make a decision about our course schedule and modalities for spring. We anticipate that most classes will continue in an online or hybrid format. But expect to offer additional on-campus classes. Distancing requirements limit the number of spaces we have throughout the college to accommodate face-to-face classes.
“The Appleton Museum of Art and Webber Gallery will also reopen Oct. 12 on an abbreviated schedule with required safety protocols and limited capacity for staff, students and visitors.”
So for those who have been struggling with getting in touch with an academic advisor or guidance counselor, it is the hope of Henningsen and of CF staff that Phase II will get rid of these particular struggles that come with online learning.
The Learning Resource Centers also gives students a place to focus on their studies, just like being back in the classroom. A tip for procrastinators out there, look at your schedule and and if work doesn’t conflict, try to go to a study room in the resource center for however long your class would have been. Finding a study buddy is also a great idea, even if you only communicate via text or zoom.
Ultimately, CF is doing everything in its power to make online learning as easy as possible and hopefully with these Phase II changes, things will continue to improve for all CF students.