As the final quarter of the academic year shifted to a virtual platform, students are learning to adjust to the new format for their courses.
On March 23, Texas A&M made the transition to online-only classes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With two weeks of virtual classes under their belts, students are modifying their study habits for an entirely digital Aggie academia.
Elizabeth Cabrera, nutritional sciences junior, said the switch to virtual classes has proved a considerable challenge.
“My first few days transitioning to online courses altogether [were] a bit overwhelming,” Cabrera said. “Not only did I have to adjust to online classes, but I was also quarantined at the time as well. This combined made life a little stressful.”
Although Cabrera said she is enjoying some of her online classes, like microbiology and nutrition, her other courses that require more interaction are taking longer to adjust.
“My challenging courses like biochemistry have just been made even more challenging with this online change,” Cabrera said. “I realize that this is a very trying time for everyone, and I appreciate all the effort my professors have made to make this transition as smooth as possible.”
Sarabeth Erdner, English freshman, said she doesn’t like the lack of socialization and personal communication that comes with remote education.
“Unfortunately, some of my favorite professors are elderly and struggle with anything technological,” Erdner said. “For this reason, we are not having lectures. I struggle to cope with not having things truly face-to-face. Not getting to talk to classmates or friends can be hard for anyone.”
Although it may be different from traditional lectures, Jacob Menchaca, biomedical sciences sophomore, said he has adjusted to his online courses fairly well considering the circumstances.
“Taking notes outside of a classroom setting in my own room has been more difficult than anticipated, but I am slowly adjusting to it,” Menchaca said. “For the majority of my courses, I am on track with watching the posted lectures and completing coursework.”
One aspect Menchaca said he likes about online learning is being able to take notes on his own time.
“I enjoy being able to rewatch the lecture videos if I need to focus more on a particular portion or if I have missed something during the Zoom meeting,” Menchaca said. “I also appreciate that my professors are still willing and able to answer students’ questions.”
Erdner said she appreciates the convenience of taking online classes from the comfort of her own home.
“One thing I like about virtual classes is I don’t have to walk four miles a day [to get to classes],” Erdner said. “Taking notes at home has become easier.”
Keeping the situation in perspective, Cabrera said a pandemic is not something that happens everyday, and all these changes have been challenging for the students, faculty and professors.
“[Although] I am a little nervous about moving forward with online classes, I have to remind myself to have faith in my professors and in my ability to do well in my courses,” Cabrera said.
Menchaca said things may seem difficult now, but he is confident he’ll have the same amount of success with virtual courses, so long as he creates an adjusted schedule that accounts for how his classes are running now.
“My advice for anyone who is struggling with online courses would be to put some sort of schedule in place that will remain consistent throughout the semester,” Menchaca said. “At times like this where multiple aspects of our lives are changing, having some consistency could make this transition easier.”