Students share mixed responses about virtual semester

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

The switch to online learning has not proved to be easy this fall for students nationwide. While some students enjoy their return to campus, others sit longingly at home in front of computer screens.

For Washington College, students were hopeful to return to campus semi-normally even with social distancing polices and strict mask rules being enforced, however that was not the case.

 On Aug. 3, two weeks before the semester was due to begin, former WC President Kurt Landgraf sent out an email announcing the plans for a fully virtual semester. Now that the first week has wrapped up, students are expressing mixed feelings about the future of the semester.

Senior Annalie Buscarino, a student athlete, said “I am destroyed, and I think I can speak for all my fellow athletes.”

Being a senior, this semester would have been her last season as a soccer player.

“You work your whole life and, junior year, you start to create an image of what the end will look like and when it’s swept from under your feet, it’s very jarring,” she said. 

Buscarino also works in the Writing Center as a tutor and has recently joined the Student Athletic Advisory Committee in hopes to help her fellow athletes cope with the recent season suspension by organizing fundraisers and other social virtual events.

Despite the recent events, Buscarino plans to make use of her newfound free time “trying to go with the flow as change occurs and using this time to maximize my productivity.”

Sophomore Nicholas Splendoria said he is “grateful to have had at least one semester on campus.”

Splendoria has been involved in numerous activities including theatre as well as Greek Life on campus, both of which rely heavily on campus presence. He shares that he thinks it will be hard to get others involved in these more physical activities.

Although the Department of Theatre and Dance plans to produce virtual performances this semester, he does not plan to audition in order to spend more time focusing on other extracurriculars such as Fall Rush.

Regardless, Splendoria hopes to return to campus this coming spring. “Maybe if I manifest it, we will return to campus,” he said.

While some upperclassmen have the pleasure of reminiscing on their time at WC, freshmen do not have that same luxury.

Freshman Lauren Badger, a member of the swim team, though disappointed, has appreciated the efforts made by swim coach, Mark Hill to keep the team connected such as posting workouts for the team to do together via Zoom.

Badger, a member of the Presidential and John S. Toll Fellowships, hopes to get more involved with the Student Government Association and Environmental Club in her upcoming time at WC.

Conversely, freshman Piper Sartison expresses her worry for the upcoming semester. A tennis recruit from Canada, she is doing everything she can to feel more connected while in an isolated state. 

 “Getting involved on campus would have been a lot easier for me if we were in person,” she said. “It’s hard to stay motivated when everything is through a computer screen.”

Sartison is hopeful that she can join The Elm following the return to campus.

Despite the evident disappointment, everyone seems to share a sliver of hope that the spring will bring more welcoming news.

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