On moving away from the new normal

Serena Bonnette  

Opinion Columnist   

The insanity that COVID-19 has caused over the past year is no stranger to any of us. Everyone in the entire world was affected by the disease in some form or fashion. Everyone’s lives essentially got uprooted, flipped around and society had to figure out how to live a sort of “new normal.” 

College students were among one of the groups highly affected by this new normal. It seemed that in an instant, classes were moved to remote learning in the Spring of 2020, carrying on into the 2021 school year. During the 2020-2021 school year, Northwestern State University offered students the option to take online, hybrid or limited in person classes.  

With the announcement of vaccinations being more available and the hope that we are slowly becoming a normal society again, came the announcement to move most of the university’s classes and schedule back to normal starting fall of 2021.  

Some are critical of the university’s decision to move back to normal, but I disagree. I think it is time we get back into the classroom and start moving forward as a society. With vaccinations beginning to become available to anyone over the age of 16 in Louisiana, there is no reason we shouldn’t be moving back to a normal life.  

I feel so strongly about the importance of moving back to in-person learning because of how badly my education suffered from online learning. The lack of face-to-face contact and accountability caused me to not only slack off but have the ability of completely disconnect from everyone around me which is exactly the opposite of what higher education is meant to do.  

I am set to graduate in May, and I feel as if my senior year was completely taken away from me.  I am not alone in this opinion. My personal education suffered from online learning. I, like many others, do my best when I am in a class, face to face and able to ask questions directly to professors and students rather than being completely disconnected when having to do all of that virtually.  

The video call class is a great idea, until the inevitable technical difficulties emerge, and it becomes utter chaos. Although many professors were willing to work with students as we navigated online school, students were still expected to give the same effort towards a class like they would have back when everyone was still in person.  

I know personally, I had a very hard time this past year motivating myself to do anything online strictly because of the lack of accountability. I am just not an online learner. 

I do understand peoples fear of retiring to normal, because of the disease, but now that vaccinations are out, I see no reason for us not to return to normal. If students are fully vaccinated, they should be allowed to attend in person classes, football games and all the other things that college is supposed to give us.  

I had to lose my senior year- there is no reason that all of my younger peers should have to suffer and lose their education in the future, strictly because people are fearful.  

The argument all along is that we just must wait for the vaccine to return to normal. Now that the vaccine is officially here and available to students, I say- let them get back to enjoying what college is meant to be. 

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