Updated: Aug 31

In my previous post, I mentioned my personal worries about attending college this fall. Now, a survey conducted by Degree Analytics allows us to see how college students across the country feel about this upcoming college semester. The top three returning to campus concerns for college students include the quality of zoom classes, the large concentration of students, and trusting others to follow safety guidelines. 82% of students surveyed feel safety has a big importance on their return to campus.

Safety Ranks High for Reopening

Even amid this pandemic, students are most looking forward to returning to friends, a better learning environment, living away from home, and access to campus resources. In order to return to campus, the most important policies college students want to be considered are safety enforcement and optional online classes. A few specific concerns are as follows: “Allow performing arts groups to freely rehearse,” “Allowing roommates,” and “Back-up

plans for when students get Covid.”

Even with all the potential changes due to Covid-19, most students think the impact on learning will be different in comparison to last year, not better or worse. The biggest thing students hope to remain the same are extracurriculars with 43.96% of respondents saying so.

Uncertainty, Yet Eager to Return

Most students feel anxious, excited, or optimistic about returning to campus due to various reasons including campus reopening and safety concerns. One student said, “I want to be able to stay on campus, be with friends, have the same level of academic rigor as before but still feel safe.” Another student said, “25,000 students on campus almost guarantees an outbreak. [I]’m


A common theme among students is uncertainty. One respondent said they have “A lot of uncertainty around the reopening plan and what campus life will be like.” Another student said they feel, “A lot of uncertainty in the world in regards to jobs, healthcare, [and] education. Not sure how I’m going to pay for things like tuition or rent or if I’ll have a job next month.”

When thinking about the future it is important to remember: “There is nothing more

certain and unchanging than uncertainty and change.”

— John F. Kennedy

When dealing with uncertainty:

Stay Positive. Stay Focused. Be flexible. Adapt. Embrace what you cannot change.

Updated: Sep 29

A few days ago, I packed up my belongings and moved into my new home just 5 minutes away from the University of Southern California campus, where I am attending my senior year of college studying Communications and Technology Commercialization. I had signed my lease for the house months prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, back when life was normal. My seven roommates and I had made the decision to return back to USC regardless of the fact that our entire education would be instructed via Zoom. Even though we could have potentially found a way out of our leases and completed our senior year of college from our homes, we made the decision to return to USC in order to make our soon-to-be-over college experience as normal and enjoyable as possible. Many of us hadn’t seen each other since we left for abroad last spring, which unfortunately was cut extremely short due to COVID, and that was not how we wanted to wrap up our college careers.

Although coming back to school and living with my friends will make Senior year feel a little more like regular college, as opposed to completing my classes in my childhood bedroom, it is still nowhere near normal. My sorority house, which usually provides members with food, housing, and great places to study, is now completely shut down. This was decided just two weeks prior to school beginning, leaving many sisters without a place to live. Since all campus facilities are also shut down, along with indoor coffee shops and restaurants, there are few places for students to study or participate in their Zoom classes aside from wherever they currently live. Luckily for me, this is doable considering I have my own room with a desk and a strong wifi signal. Some of my friends, however, share a room with 2 or even 3 other people, making it rather difficult to focus and participate in their classes.

In regards to our social lives, obviously, they are drastically incomparable to the pre-Covid era. There will be no game days, parties, formals, or large gatherings of any sort. You can no longer eat at the dining hall or sorority house with all of your friends. You can no longer collaborate in person with people in your classes to study or work on projects. Even though I am living off campus, USC security is still strongly enforcing these social-distancing rules. The consequences of failure to comply include suspension and expulsion from the university. However, after only three days of being back near campus, USC students have already recklessly ignored these mandates and have continued to attend parties without engaging in social distancing or wearing masks. In response, USC has further reached out to the community to remind everyone of the consequences they will face if they continue to ignore the rules.

The first week of school is not even over and some of my acquaintances have already tested positive themselves or have been exposed to somebody that has Covid. When discussing with my friends about Covid, most of them agree that they aren’t too worried about getting it and neither are the people they have been in physical contact with. They don’t understand why it is so problematic to hangout with friends inside and without masks when we are all young and healthy. In fact, many say they would be fine with getting Covid because it would mean immunity for a couple of months. Unfortunately, while students will most likely cause a spike in the USC area of South Central L.A due to their negligence and selfishness, they aren’t the ones who are going to bear the brunt of it. It will be the locals who are mostly lower class people of color, many of whom are over the age of 60 or have underlying health conditions.

While I want to have as fun and normal of a senior year as I possibly can amidst a global pandemic, I am struggling to find a happy medium. We must all remember that just because we may not personally be concerned about getting Covid, it is not fair to put the rest of our community at risk of contracting the deadly virus. if we fail to comply with social distancing rules, there is a reduced likelihood of having a normal semester and life in the spring. I am curious to see how USC and other schools react to skyrocketing cases and continuous instances of students failing to comply with social distancing measures. I am also curious how much my learning and education experience will be impacted by remote learning.

Updated: Aug 21

Being an incoming freshman at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, I am a little worried about what my future holds. This is a normal sentiment for any student entering college, but there is a new worry among college students: how Covid-19 will affect their college experience.

I am a first-generation college student from Redford, Michigan planning to major in neuroscience. This is a difficult major and being a first-generation college student, I hope to be provided the same assistance I would receive if not for Covid-19. I am personally worried about not being able to experience in-person interaction with my peers, professors, and lab material.

How can I make connections with people through a computer screen? How effective will online labs and classes be? With the threat of Covid-19, although I would like to experience in-person classes, the risk of contracting Covid-19 outweighs the need for in-person instruction. Even so, I am staying on campus to be as close to the normal college experience as possible.

Covid-19 has made social distancing a part of everyday life. This directly affects how I will experience classes, labs, and extracurricular activities. Most of my classes are now online to allow social distancing, and I am unsure how this will affect my academics. My potential major requires a substantial amount of labs and I want to receive the information in a format that will be conducive to my future endeavors. Being a neurosurgeon is a hands-on career, and I want to have hands-on experience of the type of work I can expect in this field.

As for my class experience, will my classes be harder or easier than they would have been if classes were in-person? Will having recorded online classes actually be better than unrecorded in-person classes? In a survey conducted by Degree Analytics, the quality of online classes is a worry among a majority of college students: 31% of college students responded that the quality of Zoom classes is one of their top 3 concerns.

Most importantly, college includes being able to participate in extracurricular activities and having easy access to campus resources. How can I completely experience these things if I have to stay 6 feet away from others and reservations have to be made in order to go to certain campus libraries? In the same survey mentioned earlier, 43.96% of respondents say that they hope extracurriculars will remain the same. I, along with other college students, are not only worried about academics but our experiences outside of the classroom. As shown in the article “Preparing for Post Pandemic Higher Education” written by David Palumbo, college students have 151,200 minutes available per semester and classes only take up about 13,500 minutes. What will us college students be able to do in the remaining 137,700 minutes and still follow the guidelines specified by the government and their different colleges?



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