Wouldn't it be so nice to say that online learning is a dream come true? Think about it, rolling out of bed and attending zoom university, eating whenever you want, and the ability to mostly work at your own pace. Sadly, these superficial aspects don't give much insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Before I begin, I want to clarify that I am very thankful for my experience so far in college. I received straight A's, secured an internship, and met several great people (virtually).
Moving on, I noticed that people often overlook online learning struggles. Sure, I'll see posts on Instagram now and then of vulnerable individuals confessing how stressed they are at the moment. On the contrary, I haven't seen anyone talk about feeling lonely while doing work or studying. Of course, study groups over video chat exist, but not everyone is free simultaneously or is willing to put in the same effort. Over time, all of this pressure will eventually take its toll, whether you realize it or not. For me, it happened towards the end of the semester, and I'm glad I caught on before it was too late.
Remember when I mentioned that I received straight A's during this semester? Well, that wouldn't have been possible if I didn't decide to drop one of my classes. Dropping classes is something I don't hear students discuss that often. They either don't know what the process is to drop one or think it'll affect their GPA (it doesn't).
At the beginning of the year, I initially enrolled in a class automatically that I was excited about because it was a subject I had never taken before. However, I was also a little skeptical because I did not pick it myself since Hunter College chooses classes for first-year students.
The class was asynchronous and took a turn for the worst shortly after. The professor provided little to no guidance. All they would do is send weekly mp3 recordings of them lecturing and occasionally post prompts on the discussion board, which were both very confusing. Usually, I would not complain about a professor. Still, CUNY has recently laid off numerous faculty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It doesn't seem fair that many hard workers won't be returning next semester when subpar ones get to stay.
I felt helpless because this is the type of class that should not be asynchronous, trust me. Sending emails did not help because the professor would write in clearly useless jargon. Everyone else seemed to be struggling too, so we couldn't help each other. I did give the class a try, but I got a midterm grade that I was not happy with, so I did what I had to do by dropping the class, and I don't regret it at all.
When you feel that your course load is too heavy for various reasons, you have a few options. First, you can apply for Credit/No Credit. Credit/No Credit means that instead of a letter grade, your transcript will state that you either received credit or no credit for a specific class, pretty self-explanatory. You still have to complete the majority of your assignment because you only get credit if you pass.
Another option is to drop the class. You no longer have to complete any assignments or take any exams because you are not in it anymore, which means you don't receive credit. Keep in mind this can negatively affect financial aid and your admittance to certain programs if you're dropping a prerequisite class. The solution to both problems is to take another class during the winter or retake the same class you dropped.
Whichever option you choose, both do not affect your GPA in any way.
Therefore, if you're worried that Credit/No Credit or dropping a class will hinder your future employment opportunities or graduate school admission, do not worry.
After dropping that class, my stress and anxiety levels went down, and I was able to study more productively for my other finals. I ended up making a great decision because if I hadn't dropped the class, there was a chance I might not have gotten a 4.0 GPA and made the dean's list.
If I could give a piece of advice to college students, I would say take a deep breath and prioritize yourself over anything else. We are currently going through unusual times, so do what it takes to cope, whether it's eating an extra cookie, unapologetically going on social media, or treating yourself to online shopping. Most importantly, it is completely fine to take a step back from a class, if necessary.