Freshman Perspectives: Online learning and COVID-19 regulations

Sophia Kobernusz-Gibbs, Staff Writer

Hillary Thompson, Staff Writer 

A sidewalk drawing welcomes students of the class of 2024. Photo by MaKenzie Barnson

Following an unexpected end to senior year, this fall semester has continued the trend of unconventional education for the upcoming class of 2024. For some incoming students, they are not receiving the college experience they were expecting nor hoping for. The most stated phrases during incoming student orientation, or Incipio, were “mask-up” and “social distance.” Classes going online or to limited hybrid models have become normal in universities across the United States. Through the novelty, students are doing their best to adapt to these changes.

When asked her opinion about COVID-19 restrictions on Saint Martin’s campus, freshman Olivia Servantez agreed with regulations. “I think everyone is being really responsible and respectful with [COVID-19 restrictions], including the students. I feel safe, I should say,” shared Servantez.

Due to the pandemic, many schools were forced to close campus and rely on technology to continue teaching students. This fall, some schools, like Saint Martin’s University have reopened with students returning to in-person classes. 

Freshman Kip Angaiak expressed how he felt with his new experiences on campus. “Despite the current pandemic and the changes in class schedule, I honestly found myself glad to be on campus, that was my biggest worry towards the beginning of summer after my school finished their fourth quarter. My biggest concern, will we actually be able to be on campus, and so the fact that we are here is more than rewarding,” shared Angaiak. 

Some students are enjoying aspects of the more online driven style. Freshman Cecilia Ramos, who had experienced online schooling aspects back this spring shared that she “is quite used to it now, but the lack of group projects is a pleasant surprise.” 

Other students seem to regard face-to-face interaction as a better way to learn than online. Freshman Jera Roller, who is doing both online and face-to-face classes discusses her experience.

“I don’t like the combination of both [class types], but in their own ways they are beneficial… In-person learning is helpful because I feel that connection to the professor and my colleagues. I feel a part of the campus environment, but with all this comes confusion. All of my classes operate differently… and it can be a lot to keep track of and time-manage,” said Roller. 

While many appreciate the in-person classes and thrive in them more so than the online classes, an undercurrent of concern is still present. Some students are concerned about being sent home prematurely once more or not being able to return after the holidays. 

“I’m hoping we don’t get kicked off campus in the middle of October… I’m not optimistic that we are going to make it to the whole thanksgiving break. Even though we have a smaller school and we are in a smaller community,” shared freshman Erica Moody. 

COVID-19 restrictions are in place throughout the campus. While this contributes to the new meal collection method and interferes with community interaction, these are very necessary steps in order to keep the community safe. Amelia McHugh was reassured by the precautions: “I think that the restrictions are good. This is a novel virus. We’re learning everything about it as we go along.” 

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