By Ashley Neckel, Sept. 7, 2021
The sun irritated my eyes as it beamed through my car windshield as I sat in the student parking lot. My laptop rested in the passenger seat next to me while I did my best to contort my body in a way that would both be comfortable and allow me to view the screen.
I quickly realized that sitting in a car with a laptop is suffocating and uncomfortable no matter how you try to maneuver. My only saving grace was the air conditioning.
I stared out of my window at the lucky students on laptops who were able to get themselves a bench, or a rock, to rest on outside.
As Zoom started up, the only thought that circulated through my head was, “Is this really what I signed up for?”
I was filled with hope when I first heard the news that campus was reopening. The thought of walking through the rose garden again or getting lunch at the student center, even just for one day per week, led me to believe my final year of college would contain a semblance of normality.
Instead, I average two hours per week on Zoom from my car to make it to all my classes on time. My back-to-back classes meet in-person on opposing days. One class is on Zoom while the next is in-person. This leaves me with the options of either being on Zoom while driving to school or parking early and attending class from the parking lot.
There seemed to have been a serious lapse in schedule-based communication from the administration. Our inboxes were flooded with emails screaming to prepare for our return, but administration put in little preparation themselves. Lack of communication was evident even within departments, too, with major-specific classes clashing and a lack of information provided to students during both registration and add/drop period. Very little structure-based information was posted to Broncodirect when students needed it.
We knew what classes would be hybrid and what time slots they could hold, but nothing more. Faculty posted little—if any—specificities to inform students which days classes would meet online vs. in-person. This information only rolled in after the semester already began and classes were already at capacity, leaving students either stuck in ridiculous schedules or thrown back into the already stress-inducing cycle of being stuck on waitlists.
This knowledge at the time of registration, instead of after the first week of classes, would have saved hundreds of students the trouble of struggling to be present and in class when necessary, or at the minimum, the stress and struggle of recreating entire schedules could have been avoided.
These mix-ups also lead to a huge chunk of wasted time. Time allotted for life outside of school is spent driving back and forth or sitting around campus waiting for an inconvenient in-person course to begin after a Zoom call. Plus, anyone unlucky enough to be there after 3 p.m. has extremely limited dining options.
Now, I do understand this does not fall wholly on the shoulders of faculty. I realize not only our administration, but the CSU system, in general, has pushed to bring back in-person learning with little information communicated to their faculties on how to proceed.
The student body suffers regardless, as this led to a slew of harsh and irritating scheduling issues. I should not see students panicking to find a spot with Wi-Fi to attend Zoom across campus.
The intense and unnecessary pressure placed on students during an already stressful time to rebuild schedules that should have been properly created months ago is simply unacceptable.
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