UNITED STATES—It seems COVID-19 has claimed another casualty America: the college experience. I don’t know about many of you, but I know with certainty going to college was an experience unlike any other. It allowed me to learn the importance of becoming an adult, how to manage money, to better socialize and come into my own as an adult. However, I’m hearing more and more, that many universities and colleges are transitioning to virtual learning for the upcoming year.
Now, how can I best say this: things have totally changed America! When I was an undergraduate the internet was starting to boom, Facebook had not been invented yet and the notion of having an online course wasn’t even thought of. With that said, fast forward to 2020 and the notion of online classes is the new craze, the internet is so advanced it’s scary and it does not look like being on a college campus is something we should expect.
I mean when I heard that Michigan State University (my Alma Mater) was transitioning to virtual learning for the fall I was stunned. My family has a long tradition of attending the university and my niece is currently an undergraduate at the school. She was under the guise a few months ago that she would be headed back to the university. She told me what transpired with the recent COVID-19 crisis and how students were receiving refunds because of housing and the transition from in-person to virtual courses.
With that said she is going into her junior year and is now being forced to take all of her classes virtually from home. So it raises a major question: what happens when one loses the college experience? Taking classes from home is just not fun. There are pros to it, but there are also cons. It lacks the connectivity that you would get if you were in person. You don’t get the experience of walking on the college campus or mingling with friends, eating at the dining hall, purchasing books, going to the library, tailgating, attending sporting events, sorority and fraternity parties, living with someone you don’t know, the list goes on and on.
Going to college gives many people their first taste of independence and losing that experience completely I cannot explain with words. Do I think it will stifle young adults’ growth? Potentially because they don’t get that opportunity to really grow without having their parents by their side to pick up the pieces. With college you get the opportunity to fail and pick yourself back up if you do so. You win some you lose some, and with that college experience it’s exciting. I feel for these kids nowadays because something tells me they are not going to fully get experience and yeah it might return when you become a sophomore, but at that point it has lost its aura.
Just think about books, how are students supposed to get their books? Can they go to the bookstore? Will the books be shipped to them? Will the notion of books not even exist for the universities transitioning to online courses solely? There are just so many questions in play and the biggest issue is no one knows what is going on. No dorm experience, I mean it’s a staple for college students to live in a confined space with another person and discover what’s it is like to get use to someone else’s bad habits and how to navigate thru that chaos.
It truly sucks for college students in this unprecedented time, where everyone’s life is being impacted by COVID-19. I hate to say this, but this is the new normal at the moment of the hour and we have to adjust to it, no matter if we like it or not.
Written By Jason Jones