Why I chose all online for this semester, and what comes next?


Daria Smith

Bedroom desk

Why did I choose to stay all online this Fall semester; What comes next?

Home-based classes have become the “new normal” this semester for safety concerns I decided to attend College of the Sequoias virtually. As the Fall semester of 2021comes to a close, I have a pro and con list of my first year of college administered from the desk in my bedroom.

If you are reading this, you have most likely experienced the upheavals of 2020; the infamous year that is known for the start of a worldwide pandemic, an increase in social justice advocation, and the presidential election, among other National problems. You have waited like the rest of us to start a life of normalcy.

For me, it has been almost a year and a half since I had returned to the classroom. When I looked at the class registration for Fall of 2021, 49% of classes were in person, 40% online and the other 10% were hybrid classes. During the summer, Covid had spiked again, with the new Delta variant, according to the CDC, in late June the cases reported were 17,000, but on July 27, 2021, the average number of cases was up to 70,000. My decision to stay home was partially out of concern for my health. I had contracted Covid earlier in the Spring, and I was vaccinated, but this new strand could infect people who were vaccinated or had Covid prior. Honestly, I was afraid of spreading it to my mother who works for Lindsy Unified, and my father that teaches for Tulare Union. And, my grandma who lives next door with pre-existing health conditions. So, I stayed home.

Sleeping in and waking up later
Creating my own daily schedule
A quieter environment
Personal growth in separate interests

Weaker student connection
Missing out on in-person teacher help

I have found comfort in being at home to planning my daily schedule, to morning walks around the block that was almost impossible until online school started. I have had more time to grow other interests, like crocheting, and birdwatching. I spend more time with my dogs and tending to the enormous amount of house plants my mother has accumulated over the past year and a half. Most, of all I realized the in-person school setting was too loud, and chaotic for me; being at home has allowed deep uninterrupted contemplative thought that I have never had before. Without noisy students, bright lights, or the overwhelming sense of being in a new environment I have worried less about waking up on time and wearing the right clothes, and have spent more time learning in my own way. That is not to say that online learning is easy, sometimes I struggle without the teacher in front of me helping me as I go, especially in math. I struggle with getting distracted. Worse, I feel disconnected from my fellow classmates because all we share are words on a screen.

In the upcoming 2022, Spring semester 67% of classes are in person, 25% are online, and 8% are hybrid, which means a huge shift from online to in-person is going to occur. I think online learning has opened a new opportunity for students that have jobs or prefer the environment at home. I strongly, urge the College of the Sequoias to keep the online format as an option for its students.

Next spring I will be attending one, or two classes in person. Like everyone else, I am still adjusting to the setting of crowds, and the bustling pace of the world. All we can do is move forward, leaving behind what doesn’t work, and remembering what does work. For me, I think having a few classes online will be one of the helpful tools I will take into the future, and leave behind crowded restaurants. Overall, my first year of college has been a year of adjusting to my own learning needs, with the constant stress of Covid I think I’m getting a handle on this post-beginning-of-Covid-world.