This past March, we were all hit by surprise with the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. People worldwide were forced to take a step back and create a new way of living. As businesses and schools started to close, people began to work and take classes online digitally.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging on, students find themselves gearing up to face another semester of online or hybrid classes. Though many people feel as if these types of classes prove challenging or intimidating, a good amount of students find this new set up to be far more beneficial than sitting in class all day.
Through the pros and cons, one thing that remains sure: online learning is here to stay, at least a little while longer.
It was the spring semester of my junior year in college – the very beginning of 2020. I decided to take one online class at the start of the semester since the previous semester I took 6 classes, proving more difficult than expected. Halfway through the semester, I realized that I probably made a mistake taking less classes than I needed to graduate on time. I decided to sign up for two more classes that were going to start in-person halfway through the semester and squeezed into three weeks.
The fateful day in March arrived when it was time for me to go back to campus to start my two new classes, one about dance and another about hip-hop’s influence on culture. After a few months of living at home, I felt more than ready to be around others during school. My first class was in a building that I never had a class in before and located in the very back of the building. It took me awhile to find the designated room, making me almost late to class. When the class finally ended, I felt overwhelmed with anxiety due to one of the required projects: create a live dance performance.
At this point in the year, many schools already had begun closing their facilities to students due to the spread of coronavirus, which was still little known about at the time. The very same day that I started my new classes, every student received an email announcing that in-person classes were to be suspended for the remainder of the semester.
To me, this email gave me incredible relief since I no longer had to do a live dance performance.
As the semester progressed, the online class situation began to feel like the new norm. Many people who I talked to about the switch from in-person to online classes felt that it caused more detriment to them than anything, for various reasons. One of these reasons included how many people found themselves able to focus better when the professor was physically teaching them.
People also talked about having an issue forcing themselves to do work when not on a schedule. Many students grow used to waking up at a certain time and abiding by a routine on specific days, helping them complete their work in a timely manner. Because online classes do not necessarily require students to get out of bed, a lot of students’ schedules ended up thrown completely off balance. This curveball thrown at students’ agendas, along with what feels to many to be a much heavier work load than normal, helps to play into the mass hatred for online classes.
The weeks flew by, with many people expecting the fall semester to be back in-person. In the very beginning of the semester there was a mix of in-person an online classes, with the in-person classes implementing social distancing and requiring face masks. After just one full week of in-person, classes moved back to one hundred percent online and remained that way for the entire semester.
Unlike many other people, I found that taking online classes helped me to improve my overall work ethic and performance in every class that I took. I think since I do not like sitting in class for long periods of time, or paying attention for that long, going online helped because it gave me my own personal environment.
The classes that I took ended up being way easier than I expected.
My live dance performance? It ended up as an essay on one certain type of dance style, a piece of cake compared to having to bachata in real life.
I passed all my online classes in the spring semester and decided that since I didn’t need to go onto campus to take more classes. As is, I was already behind on credits; so, I would have to sign up for summer classes online. I took three classes in the first half of the summer, and three in the second half, all of which were either online synchronously or asynchronously.
I continued to talk to more students, with a majority stating that online classes were incredibly tedious, and some people were even considering dropping out until classes were back in person. As for me, I went on to pass every class I took online with little to no issues, catching up on the credits that I was behind on and allowing me to be on time to graduate again.
Even though I do not have any issues with this new set up, I can understand how people find moving to online classes disruptive.
While online classes are most likely to continue for at least one more semester, the hope that we will be able to return to in-person classes without the worry of getting ourselves or our loved ones sick remains strong.
Though this situation may not be a bother to everyone, being that many of most campuses’ facilities are closed, along with the fact that students cannot socialize with one another, getting back to in-person classes will most likely help everyone be at their peak mental health.