Spring flowers bring May showers, and with them comes my complete lack faith in the spring 2021 semester. Much like the fall 2020 semester, it will be nothing like the freshman class once expected their first year of college to be.
When the fall semester began, I had two in-person classes every week and only went to campus a maximum of three times a week. As a commuter freshman, I will admit this was incredibly convenient, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t say this semester was far different from the intro to college I once imagined. While I once fondly daydreamed of packed lecture halls and all of the people I would meet in just those first few months, this semester I found myself ducking out of half empty classrooms, hardly ever taking the time to make connections with those around me. I had to weigh establishing roots at Missouri State and keeping myself and my family safe against each other, a decision that, though easy to make, posed a fair amount of strain on my life.
As a relatively social person, a full semester without engaging with others and meeting new people took its toll on my wellbeing. I have no doubt as the pandemic stretches into the spring, I will feel much the same way; however, I have found upsides to the new normal of education we have all been experiencing.
One of the things that excited me most as an incoming freshman was the increased independence I would have in relation to my coursework. With syllabuses laying out a semester’s worth of assignments and more reliance on students keeping track of their own productivity than in high school, I was thrilled to find a system that could be molded to my somewhat sporadic bursts of motivation. This, I feel, has only been strengthened by the surge in online classes and blended courses.
I have always been someone who needs time and focused energy to process information, and with video lectures and written material, I found myself able to thoroughly engage with my education in a whole new way. While I have heard many of my peers discuss their own challenges with virtual learning, I found it to be a perfect solution to many of my difficulties. As I chose my course load for the spring semester, I purposely chose many online courses, not only to maintain social distancing, but because I found them to be beneficial to my learning process.
Although the 2020-2021 school year is a far cry from the college experience the freshman class of 2020 was told to expect, I believe my classmates and I were resilient. It seems these changes to our everyday lives have been a blessing and a curse, separating us from all we have ever known but giving us the time to learn who we are. I have no doubt the spring semester will not hesitate to challenge the student body any less than the fall did. But despite the foreboding sense of uncertainty 2020 left us with, I have an undeniable belief that Missouri State freshmen are ready to tackle the spring semester and all it has to offer.
Follow Lillian Durr on Twitter, @weird_wondurr
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