Keep Wearing Your Mask People. College in the Midst of a Pandemic.

By Madison Wallace
On October 23, 2020

Madison Wallace:
Photographer & Photo Editor 

Angelo State University has done an outstanding job of making college feel “normal” during a global pandemic. Most universities have chosen to conduct completely virtual semesters, but here at ASU, our semester is looking a little different.

The university has chosen to do classes in a hybrid fashion; this year some classes are all in person, some are all online and some are both. For my safety and the safety of others, I completely understand why we have online classes and I have never been prouder to go to a university that genuinely puts me first as an individual and not a number. However, this does not change the fact that it is truly a struggle to attend college somewhat virtually and somewhat in-person. 61% of surveyed ASU students said they felt like hybrid style classes were harder than a normal in-person semester. Furthermore, 58% of surveyed students said that they would rather have hybrid classes than all online. 

The verdict amongst a large portion of ASU students seems to be that we’d rather get a little bit of normalcy than have a completely virtual semester. This does not change the difficulty of learning online since COVID-19 altered our way of life.

Student Body President Kristen Kilpatrick explained her difficulties with distant learning. “Hybrid classes have changed the dynamic of the classroom to an extent that is more difficult to fully adjust to,” Kilpatrick said. Kristen explained that when courses are all online or all in person, it is clear to the student what is expected of them. With hybrid courses though, it feels as if the student is never fully prepared and forces students to spend more time on the preparation of assignments. It can almost feel like there are hidden assignments in hybrid courses and it becomes easy to overlook assignments, even for the most organized students. 

Keaghan Holt, junior, said she feels like ASU is doing a fantastic job of trying to get us back into the classrooms and learning again, but with online classes, it can be SO easy to check out and not retain the information you usually would in an in-person class. ASU students seem to agree that while hybrid learning has been a challenge, it is beneficial to keeping us safe. We also have to take into account how students learn in various ways and overcome different obstacles regarding their academics.

Research from KQED.org showed that remote learning has distractions that put extra pressure on students with ADHD. Students with ADHD have reported having a much harder time doing schoolwork from a computer, because with that computer, they could be accessing so many other things such as video games, Netflix, etc. Working on a device that offers several distractions is hard enough, but working in a place of relaxation can also bear heavy on a student's mind. Mentally it can be hard for any student to work in the same place they sleep and/or relax.

A large portion of ASU students live in dorms and it is very mentally draining for these students to live in a tiny space where they sleep, eat, relax and now learn. It is hard to stay as alert and not everyone has the luxury of having a spare room to dedicate only to school. Many students have even voiced experiencing depression due to the increase in virtual learning because they feel isolated or overwhelmed by the new challenges. A lot of other students also vocalized that they don’t feel as smart learning virtually. These students feel as though they don't retain all of the information pushed out virtually which results in students feeling like they are not smart or are incapable of doing well in classes.

Regardless of how difficult hybrid learning is, it's no secret that it's necessary right now and is here to keep us safe. There can also be upsides to having more online material than a normal semester. Wesyln Kirkpatrick, senior, pointed out that hybrid classes can make a student’s life a little more convenient. Having the option to attend class virtually can make it easier for students to visit family or stay at home due to illness without taking away from their learning. This option can also be great when a mental health day is needed. Everyone has days where a break is crucial and hybrid classes can provide that break for students.

All in all we are living through very confusing times that we will never forget. It is important to remember that this is new to everyone, and professors, faculty and students are all simply trying to do their best during these trying times.

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