This year, 2020 has just wrecked all of our plans and education hasn't it? Most colleges across the country have either started or transitioned to online classes, sending thousands or keeping thousands of students home. This results in many of us paying rent for empty apartments, frantically searching for subletters, and still demanding full tuition for sub-par student life. No matter what university administrators say to sugar coat our struggles, here are 5 things that remote learning cannot replace.
Socialization is a huge part of student life. The student organizations, sports, clubs, and jobs offered on campus play a huge role in our success during these four to five years. Friends and teams become support systems that promote healthy lifestyles, provide students with stress outlets, and academic organizations allow us to become involved with other students in our fields and our own professors. This gives us study buddies, future roommates, and recommendation letters for graduate schools and employers. In a remote setting, sports teams can't meet, counseling can't provide services to out of state students, and meetings through zoom just don't cut it. It isn't the same, especially since we're less inclined to make friends and get involved through a computer screen vs in person.
2. Classes are either a joke or extremely difficult
I have professors who are so lazy that they just copy and paste our completed homework questions that makeup 10 question exams. That is such a joke for upper-level courses, and it doesn't test anything but memorization skills. Then, on the other hand, there are the asynchronous classes that make you teach a language to yourself through a handful of videos and vocab lists, so you have to scour YouTube and various other websites to have an understanding of the material. I guess meeting on Zoom to chat in your native language is such a hassle for these professors, isn't it? Why are they getting paid for something I can do myself? It seems like there is no in-between. Neither of these gives me a good education.
3. We are losing money
We all know that in-person tuition includes access to sports for free (because admission to games is included in our fees), a student membership at the recreation center for use at all times along with access to the library, Campus Involvement Center, Career and Leadership Development Center and other vital offices that help us. We do not have access to any campus facilities while forced to stay home, which means that this money is being wasted. I'm essentially being robbed of a good chunk of my tuition for things that I am not using.
4. Labs cannot be online
I was supposed to be in the gross anatomy lab, working on cadavers for my anatomy and physiology class, but instead, I'm zooming in on different animated structures of the body on some application instead. My only chance to work with a real human body and study HUMAN anatomy up close and personal in undergrad was taken away because my major was deemed "ineligible" to return to campus. My speech science class was also supposed to work with special equipment in the classroom for our labs to measure sound waves, hear different frequencies of sound and calibrate sound amplitude and frequencies through sound meters. Now, I have to watch videos of the professor demonstrating the procedure in an empty classroom, and also use another application to do labs. This was not how we were supposed to learn.
5. There is no work-life separation
I know many students struggle with the work-life separation or lack of it thereof. I know I do. In-person, we went to classrooms, labs, studios, etc. to learn, then did homework in coffee shops, academic buildings, and the library. When we came home to our actual houses or apartments and dorms, we could relax and get some proper rest. We would hang out with friends in our living spaces but could also get out and go places to get a change of scenery. That's a healthy balance. Eating, sleeping, studying, and working all in the same place becomes an unhealthy mix-up that confuses our brains on when and where we are supposed to stress vs rest. It takes a toll on mental and emotional health.
All in all, I know I speak for most college students when I say this is NOT how I planned or wanted to spend an entire year of college. Online classes are just not it, I can't learn effectively like this and it only proves that there is so much more to college than just our courses.