Though it was for the right reasons, the decision to move forward with a fully online class load for most Ohio University students probably wasn’t what students intended for their Fall Semester—it surely wasn’t what I wanted for the start to my senior year. Nonetheless, OU’s student body is truly rolling with the punches and begrudgingly adapting to the administration’s decision, but, if I’m being honest, it sucks.
Not to get too sentimental, but there’s truly something special about a college classroom, especially one with an engaging professor and classmates. Now students are fitted with the oh so handy-dandy Blackboard, maybe a live Zoom class and their own wits and self-teaching abilities to pass through the semester with flying colors. Ultimately, as we reach the middle of week four, I can confidently state that virtual classes are difficult as hell.
As someone that strives off the strict structure I have between my class, work and student organization schedules, it’s quite off-putting to have a ton of lectures to watch, discussion board posts to write and multiple assignments due at various times randomly throughout a week. While having solid time management skills—which I fairly do—is the crux of the issue, it also seems that professors are just disregarding the amount of time in a day and assigning what seems like busy work, just to assign something. When that happens with not one but around five or six classes a week, it can become a lot.
Deep down, I’d like to think that the majority of professors aren’t doing this. All of mine have seemed empathetic to the circumstances we’ve been graced with, and, honestly, I feel bad for the situation they’ve been put in as professors, but at the end of the day, they’re the ones assigning work to us and calling the shots for the class.
On top of classwork, attending school from home is probably the worst factor of a virtual Fall Semester. Not only is it a bummer to not experience campus and Athens if you’re an underclassman, but attending all your classes while cooped up in your home isn’t good for one’s mental health. Yeah, sitting in your pajamas all day can be liberating, but it’s not healthy to do your physics homework in the same place you sleep. Separating workspaces from personal spaces is a needed practice, but that’s immensely hard to do if you’re forced to stay home and work from your bedroom.
At the end of the day, students simply have to endure their classes, try to keep their GPA up and along the way attempt to not lose their minds. It’s easier said than done though, and I truly hope not only professors but OU’s administration see the stress put on college students right now. On top of that, while enduring these classes, students are still paying in-person tuition rates, because according to OU, money comes first I guess.
The circumstances surrounding Fall Semester financially, academically and mentally are draining. College students didn’t ask for this, didn’t necessarily want this, but we’re doing it because there’s a global pandemic going on. The only thing we ask professors as students, is to maybe, just maybe, not assign roughly 8 hours of work each week.