Living and learning during a pandemic
Class chaos: how much is too much?
By Brianna Bush
Over the past few months, the world has been adapting to living during a global pandemic. For some, the transition has been relatively smooth and they are able to adjust to new guidelines and procedures. For others like college students, navigating the new norms of the pandemic is hard.
Some students are taking advantage of online learning, finding it easier to take on more classes while being able to stay in the comfort of their homes. Unfortunately, there are many students that find online learning unsuitable.
“It seems like some professors are trying to take advantage of what they consider “more time” to do assignments,” SUNY Brockport student Julia Drummond said. “I have a whole exam due this weekend that correlates to a bunch of readings and hour-long videos.”
Drummond has been at Brockport for three years and out of those three years, she has found this one to be the most difficult.
“It would be easier if professors would space out assignments more,” Drummond said. “I feel like all of these deadlines are condensed. I want to tell my professors, “just because we are online, doesn’t mean we have more time to do things.” I’m just happy that I am able to keep up with the deadlines, even though they seem to come out of nowhere.”
Drummond explained that with exclusively online classes, some of her due dates seem to come without warning. Drummond said she would be sitting at home and all of the sudden remember that she had something due — whereas, if she was in class many professors would remind students of upcoming deadlines.
Students like Linsey Madison believe there is a great amount of miscommunication that comes along with the online learning style. Madison and others think the lack of face-to-face teacher/student interaction things are often misunderstood. Some professors have assigned modules for students to learn, many include full lectures, assignments, quizzes, etc.
Many students are angered by the fact they are not getting the same degree and standard of teaching, yet are still paying full price for their tuition. If the pandemic continues on, many would like to see either a drop in tuition or for their online classes to be better catered for their learning.
Madison is a journalism student who is finding it difficult to digest the material given to her in her online classes. Before the virus, she found comfort in being able to find her professors and ask for their help, but with online classes, she says she’s lacking the connection that helped her be the best student she could be.
“Now with everything online, you have to wait until virtual office hours which could be a week after the material was given and that’s frustrating,” Madison explained. “With my fully online classes I feel as though I am teaching myself. I am going through the motions, barely focusing, just doing the work to get it done rather than listen and comprehend the material. I hate that it’slike that but with all of the answers out there online why not fly through the material so I can do something else like in person homework or hanging out with my housemates to watch a movie. It’s the reality of what’s going on today and I know I’m not the only person who feels like this.”
Fortunately, for students who still have in person classes, there hasn’t been too much change.
Marios Argitis is an environmental science major who has a majority of his classes in person.
“Nothing has really changed,” Arigits said. “I still have all of my lab classes and I still go on excursions to different bodies of water to study the wildlife with my class. The only real difference is wearing the mask and being cautious of who is around us.”
On-campus vs off-campus living
SUNY Brockport has closed the dining areas in the dining halls, forcing students with a meal plan to line up to get take-out style meals. Fortunately, the school has set up outdoor dining stations for students who would like to eat with their friends.
With restrictions in regards to who can enter dormitories, many students are not able to spend time with their friends. The outdoor dining experience allows students to mingle and make friends, while still maintaining social distancing guidelines.
Mackenzie Lawrence, a Resident Assistant (RA) at Brockport, is learning to adapt to new guidelines and changes while helping her residents.
“In the residential halls, there is now a Desk Attendant who sits 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. to check IDs of students coming in the building to make sure only those who live there are entering,” Lawrence explained. “Students are also used to being able to share common spaces, cook their favorite meals and attend programs to meet other students. With COVID-19, students can not cook unless it’s microwaveable foods in their rooms. They also attend programs virtually now rather than in person.”
Lawrence is also able to see how difficult it is for the first-year students to try and adapt to this new way of living.
“Students want a college experience,” Lawrence explained. “They love their friends and want to go out and do the things they’re afraid to miss out on when they look back in the future. Many think that they’re not the population COVID-19 can affect, when that’s not true. So they visit friends in other rooms, eating dinner, or going off campus with no disregard of what they could possibly bring back.”
Lawrence says she also has problems with students wearing their mask properly. Many of the students only have their mouths covered, leaving their noses out in the open.
“They think since it’s over their mouth it counts when they are still breathing out of their nose,” Lawrence said. “Wearing it like that defeats the purpose of wearing the mask. It’s the equivalent of wearing underwear but not covering yourself with them.”
She claims that students are reacting to these new regulations as expected and that many are more upset over being caught drinking alcohol along with having their “college experience taken away.”
While still maintaining social distancing, students who live off-campus can have visitors, but at their own risks — unlike those who live on campus. At the Brockport Crossings, residents must make an appointment before going to the office. When in the office, people are always required to wear a mask. There are still regulations against having parties.
Argitis recently celebrated his birthday, and to celebrate his sister and girlfriend came to visit him. Because he resides in an apartment, he was able to have them stay with him without any resistance from anyone.
“I am always wearing my mask wherever I go,” Argitis said. “I would never want to endanger some else, myself or my roommates.”
Both on and off campus, students will continue to adapt and adjust to the changes in hopes that the future will be better.