When I came home for Spring Break, I had no idea I would not be coming back to complete my spring semester. I live in southern Maryland and attend school at East Carolina University in Greenville. I came home on March 5 through the BWI Amtrak station, where my dad picked me up to take me home.

All I had with me was a small backpack, a blanket, and a snack bag because I was only supposed to be home for a week. But then ECU added an extra week of break. I was super excited about this. But changing to online classes for the rest of the semester? Now that was something I was quite nervous for.

Being home means more time with my family, my dogs, and going back to work at my job in order to make money to pay for my school expenses. But being home also means having Wi-fi that goes out every five minutes, four younger siblings running around distracting me, the TV loudly playing in the background, dogs that constantly bark at anyone who walks down the street, and working late and long hours.

At home I do not have a desk to work on or essay help at the school Writing Center. I cannot go to some of my teachers' office hours and I do not have access to a library due to the COVID-19 pandemic causing all my local libraries to temporarily close, all things I relied on to help me get the good grades I need.

My twin sister and I cannot work together on any class work considering we have completely different majors (Legal Studies vs. Elementary Education). My parents work in law enforcement and have been out of school for many years. This change has left many students, like me, feeling unsupported and confused about how we can be successful in our classes and do all the work we are assigned with fewer resources.

Online classes have been a struggle from the start of this transition. We are all afraid for our health, our families, and how everything around us is changing. And sometimes that paper or discussion board is the last thing on anyone’s mind. This is a huge change for everyone and a change that we had to adapt to very quickly. Due dates have shifted, and a lot of class work had to be moved to different online platforms.

My online class experience has not been good so far. I have missed assignments, got a few bad test grades, and have struggled to focus on the work I have been assigned. Staring at a PowerPoint on my computer with a monotone teacher’s voice droning on in the background is not what I signed up for. At least before I could do that surrounded by my classmates.

The reason I did so poorly on my test was because of the immense trouble I had with learning a tough subject like Biology online. I do best in a classroom or lecture hall where I can see my professor, ask questions, and talk about the material with my peers around me. I acknowledge that so much is going on and so many people have it a lot worse than I do but I, as are many students, am having a tough time.

As a struggling college student, I am praying for a healthier tomorrow. For healing, for growth, for love and good health. People are struggling in many ways including financially, physically, emotionally and mentally across the globe. 

I look forward to getting to meet new people, sharing experiences, and connecting with others again. I look forward to being back on campus and having access to all the things that will give me my continued success in the classroom. I look forward to not having to spend most of my time worrying for my family’s health and instead spending time creating memories that I will never forget. Although this transition was a necessary change to ensure the health of the public it still has been a hard and trying change.

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