Students hope that professors will be empathetic during transitional time

By Lexi Meola
Elm Staff Writer

Students who are overwhelmed by the return to in-person learning are looking to professors to help ease the burden of this significant change.

After being virtual for the last three semesters of college, students are anxious about adjusting to an in-person learning environment. Balancing social and academic responsibilities will also present a challenge to students who have been online for so long.

Now that everyone is back in-person, finding time to spend with friends while balancing classes, clubs, jobs, and other organizational responsibilities like Greek life or Student Government Association has become difficult to manage.

Senior Meagan Jenkins feels overwhelmed by her social and academic obligations.

“We’ve all been stuck in isolation for so long, being back and being able to hang out with friends makes it difficult to figure out our schedules with academics,” Jenkins said.

As we transition back to in-person learning, professors need to understand that students are dealing with a host of responsibilities and need to be patient as they adjust.

According to juniors Julia Totis, AJ Gerardi, Sierra Loutraris, and Kaitlyn Tourin, students are overwhelmed by being back on campus. The junior class in particular did not get the chance to complete their freshman year, which has made the return to campus as upperclassmen challenging. It has been a huge adjustment both academically and mentally.

As a junior myself, coming back to campus as an upperclassman has been difficult.

Senior year is only two semesters away, so I need to be thinking about internships. I am also trying to regain some of the social experiences I lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On top of it all, I’ve been worrying about my family as the pandemic continues.

All these concerns plague not just my mind, but the minds of other Washington College students.

Totis, Gerardi, and Loutraris all expressed concern over taking in-person tests.

“After being used to open note tests for three semesters, it is difficult to remember how to study effectively for a non-open notes test,” Gerardi said.

According to Totis, students hope that professors will understand that the adjustment back to in-person learning is something that will take time.

“The adjustment to in-person learning is going to take a month or so into the semester to get used to. Going to classes, figuring out social situations, and responsibilities in clubs are all things we are all adjusting back to,” Totis said.

Checking in with students to see how they are handling the pandemic while being back in-person is a great way to increase communication and allow them to be heard.

“It might be time consuming for the professor to email each student individually, but it gives the student a safe space to communicate with their professors about any concerns,” Jenkins said.

The other concern plaguing student’s minds is the possibility of the Delta variant causing cases to surge across the United States. With mask mandates changing and the possibility of another booster vaccine looming in the future, students are going to have a lot on their minds.

According to CNN, “as the Delta variant drives another surge in COVID-19 cases, shifting rules about mask wearing and other school procedures are also causing confusion and stress among students planning their return to classrooms.”

Professors must understand that while we have their classes to worry about, we also have our health and our friends’ and families’ health to worry about.

By being patient, understanding, and willing to adapt their course plan, professors can help their students. Flexibility and communication will go a long way towards establishing a sense of camaraderie between students and professors as the WC community tackles this semester together.

Photo by Samantha Jarrett

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