Seemingly overnight, the American academic system shifted for the worse due to COVID. Classes moved to fully remote instruction and students were forced to use their resources in order to succeed. Not everybody has the necessary resources, though. My laptop doesn’t work anymore and my best friend doesn’t have a laptop. It seems like this is the best route to go but this situation seems to favor students who have resources. I’m definitely fortunate in that I’m able to afford another laptop because of my financial aid check, but not everybody is so lucky, and resources are dwindling.
Online classes are certainly not optimal for most students. The likelihood that you have a concern with the material and can’t get in contact with a professor is high. I was waitlisted for a class and never heard from the professor, only to learn that the school wasn’t in contact with her about the waitlist. For students with learning disabilities, like another friend of mine, it can be even harder to succeed in an online setting. I wish there was a way to make online more accessible, but there’s unfortunately not, and students are suffering from this pandemic.
Financial aid and rent are also something I think about. I’m trying to sublease my apartment until June, but with the pandemic, people unfortunately aren’t interested in moving. I feel bad for the people that absolutely cannot afford rent due to being laid off from jobs or other personal circumstances, but it’s hard to get out of rent without breaching some sort of legality issues. I’d rather not pay rent for a place I’m not staying in, so I might just go back to Isla Vista for a month and a half. I really love my apartment and my roommate (it’s my stepsister!) but I also like the lowkey life I have in my hometown. Financial aid is important because students are paying to essentially teach themselves class material and still have money put towards on-campus resources (at UCSB, this includes the Rec Center and the library) that aren’t being used because they’ve closed down until further notice. A student at my school started a petition calling on the administration to reconsider charging students these on-campus fees, but no progress has been made. However, the petition has a lot of traction so I’m confident that the administration will rethink their charging habits.
You might be wondering, how does this affect my academics? Well, it’s mostly about the uncertainty of the situation. I don’t know when I’m going back to Isla Vista and that makes me nervous. My new laptop is on the way, and I need to be able to use that in order to access my classes since propping my iPad up on my laptop in order to see the screen just isn’t cutting it LOL. The issue is, I don’t know when it’s coming. It makes me nervous that I might have to go back and not have the new laptop I’ve been looking forward to buying since I was 20. In addition, it can sometimes be hard to focus because my dad often calls me when I’m in class and gets angry when I don’t respond. My brother plays loud music, and my mom is definitely a lot more polite about it but sometimes she doesn’t understand the concept of my education as well. It’s hard to make people realize that this is not a vacation for college students, and some people maybe never will.
Finally, because I didn’t want to take classes after I walked, I realized this quarter that I had to take 20 units in order to be ready for graduation. I was afraid I’d lose that motivation. However, with graduation being postponed, it came to me that I didn’t have to take 20 units this quarter. Rather, I’m now essentially stuck with these classes. I guess it’s my fault for failing a class last quarter, but I learned my lesson. With online courses, stress seems to increase and teachers don’t account for the change in instruction. They’re doing their best but some just don’t really care and it makes me sad.
Overall, I’m really not trying to blame anyone. This is a national pandemic that nobody could have prevented. It’s just unfortunate that so many students are suffering. I just wish there was a better way.