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The Et Cetera

The Et Cetera

OPINION: Online classes aren't a good fit for everyone

Illustration by Alice McCallie/The Et Cetera.
Illustration by Alice McCallie/The Et Cetera.


With the continuous spread of COVID-19, the social isolation that was originally assumed to only last a few months now seems to have no end in sight. The anxieties and stress that college students already carry are only adding to the anguish. Virtual learning has become the norm in recent months, and the toll it places on students should not be overlooked.

The difference between online and traditional classes can often be difficult to see, and people tend to believe that online classes are easier. Being able to work at your own pace and schedule seems simple until put to practice.

Prior to the shift in the classroom environment last year, I would regularly take a mixture of online and in-person classes each semester. I usually attended the more difficult classes on campus, as I tend to learn best from examples and asking questions.

The easier classes I would take online. This way I could complete the assignments at my own pace.

The only thing keeping most students from crossing the line of passing or failing a class is their physical attendance of that class. Being in a classroom, surrounded by classmates and a learning environment, actually helps students maintain focus and maintain their grades. As much as I dreaded having to wake up early in the morning to attend my high school classes, I understand that being in that environment is a large part of why I did well in most classes.

I noticed this fact last semester while taking an online college algebra class. I have always struggled in my math classes, which is why I was hoping to take it in person, but by then most classes were already online because of the pandemic. I struggled through numerous late nights, frustrated and enraged with myself, wondering if I was simply not smart enough for the class.

Thinking back on it now, I realize that my learning style doesn’t always fit well with online classes. I often struggle with math, so not having an environment—a classroom—to focus in was exceptionally difficult for me. I managed to pass the class, but the experience was far from pleasant.

Knowing the strain that virtual classes have on students, finding ways to make the process easier and less stress-inducing is important. Time management is the key to success in any online course.

I’ve realized that procrastination is sometimes unavoidable, therefore being mindful and planning ahead of time makes a big difference. Keeping a relatively organized but simple schedule avoids messy and unnecessary mistakes.

Above all, students must stay positive. Nothing helps the mind stay motivated more than positivity, especially in stressful situations. Perhaps with a little positivity and the vaccine, traditional classes can resume again soon.

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