Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

The Blue & Gray Press

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Students adjust to online schooling from home

4 min read

Off-campus students are facing unique challenges with taking all-online classes at home. | Hannah Unger, The Blue & Gray Press

by MEGAN RILEY

Staff Writer

According to President Troy Paino, due to COVID-19, 61 percent of all classes offered this fall semester are being conducted in an online format. Because of this, many students whose schedules became fully online elected to stay at home. As the middle of the semester approaches, those students have settled into their new normal.

While the format of classes is different and many students would prefer to be on campus, most are keeping up their average grades. 

“It’s the seventh week and my grades are still holding up. I’ve got all A’s except for one,” said junior communication and digital studies major Amber Brown. “It’s going pretty well!” 

Junior accounting major Cindy Ly is also doing the same academically despite the circumstances. 

“While this semester has been challenging to keep up with my grades, so far I have been getting As and Bs in my classes,” said Ly. 

While most students who are doing all online classes have said that they would prefer for the semester to be normal, students who were previously commuter students seem to not mind education online at all. 

“Believe it or not but I get more work done at home I feel then if my classes were ‘in person.’ I am not spending an hour of my day traveling and I use that time to do work,” said junior business administration major Garrett Thomas. “Also, I am saving money on gas and food.”

Brown said something similar regarding her time management with online courses. 

“I love being online because before I wasn’t really good with time management because I was a commuter and I had to plan time to go onto campus. Now I get to wake up, look at my planner to see what I have to do that day, go to class and do my work immediately after class without having to go anywhere,” she said.

In order for students to keep their grades up from home, they have had to adjust their study habits. 

“My periods of study have been broken up into smaller chunks because it’s so much harder to focus and I have much more to do. I feel less productive always. It’s really frustrating,” said junior biology major Julia Gasink. “As we get deeper into the semester, I feel like I am adapting more to the change, but I still wish I was back at school.”

Senior sociology major Isabella Burns has changed her study habits some to deal with the illusion of “unlimited time.”

“Every day I have been waking up around 8-9 a.m., which is not normal for me. Being at home has allowed me to have more time to do my homework, but it also presents the idea of unlimited time, and I have really had to learn how to perfect my time management skills,” said Burns.

For some students, being at home can present distractions to studying. 

“It is definitely more difficult to stay focused and on task. At school I would go to the library or the UC to study and I could work hard and feel productive. At home, I have nowhere to go to study,” said Gasink.

The pressure to pay attention to their families has also proved to be a distraction for some.

“We have gotten a good system of respect in my house. I have two other siblings who are also doing their schoolwork online this semester, and we understand how everyone needs their space at home, but the pressure to spend time with my family is super strong and is something I have felt immense guilt over. I feel the need to put aside extra time for them specifically,” said Burns.

Despite the stress some students may be feeling, they are still finding ways to alleviate it by doing things they enjoy while getting away from the schoolwork. They read, play video games, watch TV, hang out with their significant others and do their best to remain in contact with friends. Some have even taken up new hobbies. 

“Lately I have been investing in pets,” said Gasink. “Pre-covid I only had two dogs. Currently, I have two dogs, a hamster, a fish, three shrimp, a snail and three hermit crabs. And I am currently thinking about investing in some pet frogs.”

Students overall seem to be doing well and keeping their grades up, but most look forward to getting back on campus in the spring to round off the year.

“If UMW stays stable for this semester, I plan on returning in the spring,” said Burns. “Knowing that this is my last year ever at UMW…I need closure. I need to go, even if I sit in my dorm by myself, and be able to say I was physically on campus for my last semester ever.”

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