Colleges in a Pandemic: How Are the Students Doing?
Life during a pandemic has been difficult for everyone. No matter if you're currently in your career, looking to start it, or thinking about doing so, then you’ve experienced some kind of change due to the pandemic. The changes have impacted many and it seems that current college students are experiencing struggles just like everyone else. What I’ve found is that these struggles aren’t very different for students whether they’re attending a university or community college.
Though the struggles and changes experienced by college students overall are minimal now, Covid-19 is altering how students are experiencing college. No matter if the student is attending a community college or a university like UMSL, the student’s college experience will be changed. Luckily, the students I talked to are not struggling greatly due to changes with the courses they are taking; however, they’re facing challenges with the restrictions put in place because of the pandemic.
Students from both types of colleges find that constantly wearing masks and maintaining distance on campus to be a big part of the challenging changes. One freshman attending community college says, “people have to be 6 feet apart, so they can’t really talk to each other that much. It’s much more lonely.” Another community college student also comments on this by saying how the restrictions impact things “socially just because you constantly avoid people.” A UMSL student shares how “you don’t get the social aspect of the college experience.” Which further shows the divide students feel socially. One university senior I spoke with focuses on the brighter side of the restrictions, saying that they “definitely limit what you’re able to do on campus, but overall I still feel like I’m getting a good education.”
After talking with students from both types of colleges, I found students have adjusted well to online classes. Most already had previous experience with online courses, making the transition from in-person to online even easier. One community college student from Mineral Area College said how he’s “dealt with online classes before so it’s really nothing new, but can see how others could see [the changes] differently.” Another Mineral Area College student says how courses weren’t as much of a problem for her saying, “there were certain courses that were difficult because I’d always have questions and I couldn’t just ask the teacher in class like I’d usually do, but other than that online was almost easier on me.” This seemed to be the biggest issue for students: being able to ask questions as they needed to. Though this is a problem, many understand that adjustments must be made during this time and they have adapted as needed.
What has also made the changes easier for students is how their schools have supported them. That same Mineral Area College student praises her school for the way restrictions have been implemented, saying her college “did a pretty good job of implementing precautions and restrictions around campus while still being able to participate in class or certain activities.” Another student from Mineral Area comments on how the school does “a good job balancing the freedoms with the restrictions. We’re still allowed to go anywhere on campus as long as we wear a mask.” A university senior from SEMO thought specifically of his professors and how much they have assisted in all the changes saying, “a lot of professors have been very generous in dealing with everything.” Having professors that aid students not only during class time, but that make themselves more available to help outside of class is a big relief for students during the pandemic.
Any amount of relief people can get during this chaos is needed, but college students especially need solace. Students attending both universities and community colleges are facing the same kinds of challenges during the pandemic. They also face similar needs during it, meaning it should be easier for schools to resolve problems for their students. The schools can come together as a team to resolve issues and to better aid students during these hectic times. It adds a bit of light to the tunnel we’re all going through with Covid-19.