It’s not every day that you have your first month back to in-person college classes after a global pandemic, but here we are!
In a few months, we’ll be coming up on the second anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic. I know, I can’t believe it either! The days of whipped coffee and a man deeply obsessed with tigers feel like only yesterday.
Due to the significance of the beginning of this school year, I spoke with a couple of students at Acadia to get a better view on people’s thoughts on the campus and academic life compared to before and during the pandemic and quarantine; Briar, a 4th year Politics and Sociology double major, and Ashley, a 3rd year Music major.
When prompted about the differences they personally observed in student life, I received relatively similar answers, both including the main changes, those being masks and social distancing.
Ashley: “There are only a few differences. I feel like this year they are trying to bring back normalcy as much as possible. Masks, distancing and only allowing on-campus residences into residence buildings are some of the changes. One thing I miss is signing in my friends from back home (non-Acadia students) and having them stay with me for a few days on the weekend. That’s one thing I can’t wait to happen again.”
In the same vein as the previous question, I asked what their thoughts were on the educational aspect of things in this new school year.
Both agreed that this school year is relatively normal in comparison to the years before the pandemic, with small exceptions to this, such as the masks, as well as professors making assignments and lessons accessible online as well as in-person.
Briar: “I think it varies, a lot is similar when we’re all sitting together and chatting like before, but I find the teaching is a little bit different with the profs. They’ve changed assignments to be able to cater to in person and online which is useful (just in case of another wave). I think this would be applicable to all departments just because all of us got used to being online the entire school year.”
As a final question, I asked them what their personal experiences were with online learning, and they gave similar responses. They spoke about how constant staring at a screen was tedious and mentally draining, and that being unable to learn in-person was something that they struggled with, which took a toll on their grades. However, they did talk about how their professors did amazingly with the tools they were given, and they made everything as accessible as they possibly could for their students.
Briar: “At first I found it cool that we could actually do everything online, but as it went on it became tedious looking at a screen for over 8 hours a day. I needed to go outside for walks quite a bit. What I thought was done well was that the profs were able to adapt to online like us and go through the same learning curve we did. Something I did notice that needed improving was that it was harder to participate online than in person. Due to this, it started affecting participation grading which wasn’t great.”
Ashley: “Our professors tried their very best to make things as accessible as possible. It was a learning curve for everyone considering this was the first time for a lot of students/teachers. Many people asked me last year, “How can you do music online?” Our professors were as organized as they possibly could and were very understanding. We used online programs for collaborative work where we recorded our separate parts for a piece and uploaded them to a website.
For me, online learning was not something I did well in and struggled with a lot. It’s definitely not something I would do again.”
Overall, Ashley and Briar, although in completely different majors and years, had extremely similar experiences with pandemic learning, and gave a great insight into what online learning at Acadia was. They spoke of both personal and general experiences with the stress that comes with trying to pass college due to a global pandemic going on around you.