This was my first semester doing in-person classes on an actual campus. I transferred from MSU’s online courses, and I was really excited about finally getting a chance to see what the college experience was really like. The first two months on campus were really great! As someone who had only ever experienced online courses, being in person was an exciting change. I had so many new resources available to me, so many new opportunities I could explore. Then, Spring Break came along.
I know at that time, neither myself nor most of the American population expected what was going to happen. COVID-19 essentially took the population by storm and I am not going to lie, I did not think it would get to the point that it is now. I never expected I would be back to doing online courses so quickly after I finally was able to receive my education face-to-face.
To be completely honest, I was so angry at first. I knew (still know), that every measure that has been put into place is a way to ensure a safer living style for the foreseeable future, and I am grateful; however, it’s frustrating.
Even knowing that everything has been done for a reason, it’s still incredibly challenging to adjust to. I know I might be alone in saying this, but for me, I was desperately trying to escape the online world! Coming back into it just as soon as I had left, was so heartbreaking for me. I thought I had finally found my way.
I wanted to be able to actually experience something new and focus whole-heartedly on my future, and this was the last thing I expected to happen. I mean, what were the odds that this year, this semester, would be the one where a global pandemic took the world by storm?
But, regardless of the probability, COVID-19 is here, and I am back now to doing online classes like most other students are. My biggest issue with online courses has always been comprehending new topics. My statistics course for example was already a challenge for me, but now it has become almost impossible for me to truly understand and retain what I am learning.
Online education is difficult, as it really limits your ability to sit down and have someone walk you through questions, ideas, concepts, etc. The inability to have an open dialogue about these subjects has caused my anxiety issues to skyrocket. I have days where I feel like a complete failure because I cannot grasp a certain concept or because I feel as if I am lagging behind. Obviously, these feelings are not 100% accurate, but they definitely feel 100% real.
There also is the issue of coursework overload. Before, I could manage my homework pretty evenly with my classes, but now I have homework almost daily and five huge sections for five different classes, and only seven days to work on them all. It can be intense and feel suffocating. Not to mention, many students work jobs while in school. I’m trying to balance being a full-time student along with babysitting my siblings as my mom still has to go to work five days a week.
Even through all of the frustration, I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with EKU’s handling of the COVID-19 situation. I feel like I have had more positives than negatives all things considered.
Tutoring programs are still being offered and are readily available. I can imagine many students really appreciate the help in these strange times. Most of my professors are attentive and understanding about this situation and have been doing the most on their ends to ensure that our class is being taught as efficiently as possible. Plus, for those who need it, the psychology clinic is still doing online therapy sessions! Which, I believe, is absolutely amazing.
Eastern has done right by its students while transitioning online. Personally I appreciate Eastern’s decision to not do the pass/fail grading system. I know most people will disagree with me, but as someone who needs those grades to help my GPA, I feel as if I worked too hard at the beginning of this semester to see my hard work go to waste.
In all seriousness my biggest concerns with online courses and the transition are for the students who have a hard time with change. I will admit that I am one of those students. I went from being a 20-year-old college student, to becoming a full-time babysitter, full-time online student, and a concerned citizen. My life, and so many others have drastically changed, and almost every aspect of our lives have become stressful and worrisome; bills, job loss, new responsibilities, etc.
There is so much going on and online courses is another unexpected change and responsibility that may have to be pushed back in order to prioritize other aspects of life. It is a lot to manage, especially with being so young, but I’m grateful for Eastern and all of the staff that have been doing their best to ensure students are not being made to feel as if they are alone throughout this difficult time. I hope that everyone can remain safe and healthy and can remain optimistic despite the circumstances we are facing together.