This past year has been a hectic time for just about everyone. Everyone has had their own battles throughout the pandemic; from mental health, to physical health, everyone has been affected one way or another. As a college student, it’s already been hard adjusting to being an online student. When I was applying to different colleges, I didn’t expect a worldwide pandemic to occur, and the consequences of the emergence of the virus. Being switched to online classes (without the intention of being an online student), has been a challenge.
Do you know what has made it worse? The unrealistic course load that many college students have had to endure. You would think that due to the switch to online learning, that the assignment levels would remain constant, or even possibly get a little lighter. Realistically, I feel like I’ve been buried in work, and it’s been like this since the very beginning of each online semester I’ve had so far.
You might use the argument of “but you were a Freshman before the pandemic happened; those courses are so easy,” but let me prove that it’s not the comparison between years. During Freshman year, I took courses such as Business Law, Microeconomics, and Marketing; all of these were either foundations for my major, or foundations for any Business student on campus. Two out of three of the given examples were 200 level courses. This semester, I’m taking Gen-Ed courses, such as Religion and Computer Science, which are both level 100 courses. My level 100 courses feel so much harder than what I dealt with in my level 200 courses. This semester, I have at least one project a week (so far, the most projects per week has been three), at least one assignment in every single class (this is usually more than one assignment), a set of pre-labs and labs, and reflection papers for three out of five of my courses. With my level 200 courses (and even my level 300 courses in Fall 2020), I had at most 1-2 assignments per week, with the occasional quiz or essay thrown in.
Most college student’s lives have already been turned upside-down, with different situations taking over our minds. From finding enough money to pay tuition, to feeling constant isolation from friends and family, it’s been rough for many students. The last thing we need is a heavy semester filled with non-stop work, and intense burnout from not having any breaks (other than Easter Monday and one other Wednesday in April).
Do I understand that we are still in college, and that we still need to do work? Yes, of course I do. That’s what I’m paying for. I’m not paying to just sit around in my room/dorm, just patiently waiting for four years for a degree. I don’t expect college to be a breeze, I expect some difficulty; that’s how we learn the vital skills we need. What I don’t expect is constant busywork that will not only fill up my already occupied schedule, but also cause me to lose passion for what I’m trying to do with my life.
My college experience has already been messed up, and I’m not the only one who has dealt with this. My first semester in college was spent at a school I eventually transferred from, and the next three semesters that I’ve spent at Siena have either been half-remote, or completely remote. The first half of my college experience is gone. I’m already feeling the consequences of this. It’s messed up my living situations, my study abroad plans, and my overall life path.
We’ve all dealt with loss in one way or another. Some people have witnessed death, some have witnessed complete mental breakdowns; we are all dealing with our own battles. Truly, the last thing we really need right now is to be fully occupied with school work. Our lives are already potentially in turmoil. I want to be able to see or talk to my friends and family without worrying in the back of my mind “oh man, I have five assignments due by Friday; looks like I won’t be doing anything for a while.” Because this happens. It’s happened every single week this semester.
Being remote, I haven’t been able to see my friends, and I haven’t even had the opportunity to travel to see them. Some of my friends are only 30 minutes away from my house, but I just simply don’t have the time to visit them. Every time that I potentially see an opportunity to see someone, an assignment or project gets posted. Then, my learning anxiety boosts all over again.
To put it simply, these remote semesters have hurt. They’ve hurt my mental stability, and they’ve hurt my passion to learn. Even if I’m in a class I love, I’m always like “when is this going to be over? I have so many assignments to work on”. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to feel love for school again; that will start when we are given realistic workloads again. If you feel like your workload has remained the same, then you are so lucky; I yearn for your schedule. I hope that I’m the only one who feels this way, but I’m sure that I’m not.