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The aftermath of COVID-19 on a college education

A student wearing a mask listens to a lecture in Scott Berry’s Fluid Mechanics class in the Grand Ballroom on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, at the Gatton Student Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Kentucky Kernel Staff

The COVID-19 pandemic altered the daily lives of university students and presented new challenges for their education. College is no easy task, and adding a pandemic into the mix added an entirely new stress for students.

Upon the arrival of COVID-19, the University of Kentucky transitioned all classes towards virtual learning.

Many changes were made to adjust to the pandemic outside of the classroom which was a challenge for everyone. Students were required to change their daily routines while also attempting to stay on track with learning.

During the pandemic, students were required to learn new materials through a device and had to forfeit face-to-face interactions. Many students were upset by this transition and felt that this would make learning more difficult.

Logan Saylor, a junior at the University of Kentucky, felt overwhelmed by the transition.“It was hard to do school completely online, but it was even more difficult to go back to fully in-person classes. I didn’t feel like I was prepared,” Saylor said.

The abrupt transition was also hard for students who were required to travel home with little notice at all. “I’m from California so it was really difficult for me to just pack my bags and go home since it’s so far away,” Saylor said.

Online courses also presented the challenge of staying focused and motivated for students. Students were no longer required to attend classes in person which made it difficult for students to want to attend a class online.

“When we were doing online classes, I didn’t feel like I was actually in class. It was hard to stay focused and want to participate in my classes,” Saylor said.

Since the decline of the pandemic, the University of Kentucky has now transitioned almost fully back to in-person classes, another transition for students to adjust to.

Without face-to-face interactions in the classroom, some students felt as though they had fallen behind in their courses, which made the transition back to in-person classes difficult.

Many students feel that the abruptness of these transitions left little time for them to adjust and many felt that they were playing “catch up” with their now in-person classes.

When classes began transitioning back to in-person learning, the course loads became overwhelming for students.

“I was not used to dedicating so much time out of my day to walk to classes and attend class in person. I felt like school was less demanding while we were online,” Saylor said. An easier transition could have been offering both in-person and online courses for students. This would help students adjust to the changes in their education and also offer different options for students who work or have strenuous schedules outside the classroom.

Carissa Kimball, another junior at the University of Kentucky, felt like the transition back to in-person classes could have been made easier with more online options still being offered.

"I think I would like to still be able to take some classes online. It would definitely make it easier to get used to in-person learning again,” Kimball said.

Some students enjoyed the ability to take courses online and felt that this was beneficial to their time.

Online classes offered more flexibility for students with jobs and other commitments outside of school.

“I had more time to dedicate towards working which was nice. I did not feel as stressed out because I had a more open schedule,” Kimball said.

Online classes became the norm for college students for a number of semesters and are still offered post-pandemic.

Though in-person classes are very beneficial to many students, some prefer the style of virtual learning.


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