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  • Milisa Carter

A Freshman’s Perspective of Returning to Campus This Fall Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic



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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