At this point in time last year, I was just beginning my college career. I was able to walk around campus freely, I could visit my friends in other residence halls if I wanted, and I got a hold of which classrooms each of my classes were held in.
I felt like I was ready to take on the world.
This year, however, things have changed. A lot.
The vast majority of my time is now limited to either a specific classroom, the dining hall, or my apartment. I now have to wear a mask at all times.
If I want to meet up with friends that don’t live in my building, I have to schedule a time with them because I can’t just waltz into their building like I used to. I’m required to wipe down my desk and seat when I enter and before I leave my class.
I’m in my apartment way more than I want to be because most of my classes are either hybrid or fully online.
In fact, this semester I only have one class that’s fully in-person. It certainly is a unique experience attending college during the time of COVID.
Many students may dislike or even loathe learning mostly or fully online, but I see it as a blessing in disguise. My home county is completing the first half of the school year online and implementing a class schedule similar to what current college students have, which many families aren’t happy about.
However, I welcome this experience with open arms.
While going to college during a global pandemic is something I certainly didn’t expect or even want, I now see this as a new opportunity. Attending college during a pandemic is something that no one would ever think would happen, yet here we are.
Only one of my classes is fully in-person, but protocols still need to be followed. A handful of students in the class are fully remote, we must all wear masks and the desks are spaced 6 feet apart.
The classroom is big enough to hold the entire class that is living on or commuting to campus, which allows us to have this class in-person at all times.
For the classes that are hybrid or fully online, however, I had to adjust to using Zoom. Last semester, after the campus shut down, my classes met virtually on Microsoft Teams.
While we still use Microsoft Teams to communicate with each other, Zoom is being utilized more for meetings.
One of my online classes is a mini, so soon I won’t have to worry about spending two and a half hours at a time sitting in front of my computer. My other online class, however, doesn’t have a set meeting time, so I have to rely on emails or Blackboard to keep me informed.
I had to get myself a wall calendar so I didn’t mix up the days I was in-person and the days I was online for my hybrid classes.
If you told me last year that this is how I’d be taking classes this year, I would probably laugh in your face. Now, this is our new reality, and it’s something we’re all going to have to get used to for the time being.