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Back to School : A College Student's Perspective

Throughout 2020, everyone has made changes to their lives. From how they work, to how they see their friends, we’ve had to change how we interact with the world around us, and students are no exception. In March 2020, COVID-19 caused my school to go online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester, and suddenly I was checking my email instead of meeting with professors, and opening my laptop instead of walking to class. As I return to Glenville State College for the Fall 2020 semester, things have changed again.

Unfamiliar Territory

The first thing that changed? Move-in day. Students made appointments for move-in days and times, and instead of heading straight to the dorms, we were instructed to head out to the Waco Center, a facility separate from the rest of the campus, for testing. After we were approved to move in, we were finally sent to the dorms, where student workers helped pack up carts to speed-up the process.

Just like everyone else, I find my campus looking a little unfamiliar at times. Lounges have been taped off and marked with signs telling us to sit elsewhere, and half of the tables in the dining hall are not in use either. The dining hall is also offering a streamlined to-go option, with most items being pre-packaged so students can grab their food and take it elsewhere. I suspect I will not be rearranging seats with my friends so we can sit at one table anytime this semester.

Classroom Changes

Of course, the reason I came to college in the first place is the thing that has changed the most: my classes. One of my classes, an English course, made the switch to entirely online work, while 2 other classes have adopted a “hybrid” approach, in which we meet once a week in some capacity, and everything else is done online. As I’m an art major, some of my classes simply can’t be done online-- when you need clay, a kiln, and plenty of glazes to complete a sculpture course, the switch to online is simply impossible. For that reason, most of my art classes still take place in person, but with the added precautions of masks and social-distancing compliant seating.

Supporting One Another

Truthfully, the changes can feel scary and stressful. There’s still a chance that an outbreak could force things to go entirely online. For my fellow art students, as well as students in other departments who depend on in-person classes to learn, like those in the land resource or music departments, that’s a pretty big stressor. Many students also struggle with online classes for reasons related to mental health, home life, or simply preference, and for us, it’s a big adjustment to make. Still, I know that I can depend on my friends, as well as my family back home in Mingo County, to support me if things get tough, and I know that I will do the same for them. No matter what, this fall is going to be a learning experience for all of us.

-Zoe Yates is a part time content writer for Williamson Forward & full time college student navigating the waters of college during a pandemic.

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