Students, faculty face new challenges with in-person learning

Work, school took toll on one student’s mental health; instructor reports anxiety over teaching in person

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Many students struggled with online learning during the last 18 months.

JOSIAH PIKE, Evergreen reporter

Professors and students are adapting to being back in-person following over a year of remote learning, which comes with its own struggles mentally and academically.

Kemi Lu, junior computer science major, said he faced challenges in adapting to remote learning and subsequently to in-person classes. 

“I just had to turn on Zoom, and that’s it,” Lu said. “When you’re in your home or apartment, or whatever it is, you’re going to be distracted.”

Beyond just the school environment, however, students faced problems adapting to the new lifestyle of COVID-19. Most people were forced to quarantine themselves at home, which was difficult to adjust to.

“I’m kind of not an outgoing person, so I usually stayed home,” Lu said. “Some of my friends, they missed going outside and having parties, and everything like that.”

Freshman English major Brandon Osegueda had to work and go to classes during the pandemic. Ever since COVID-19 first started making headlines, he has been mentally affected.

“During the pandemic, my mom lost her job,” he said. “So that was really hard on her. I had to step up during that time.”

Students’ education took a hit during the quarantine period, as it was much harder to focus and adapt for many students, said WSU English instructor RJ Murphy. 

Murphy said they found it difficult to effectively teach under the last year’s conditions.

Being back in person is an improvement, despite the challenges WSU is currently facing, Murphy said. It is best for things to return to this way, as it gives students a more complete experience than remote learning.

However, there are unique struggles that come with being face-to-face during a pandemic, Murphy said.

“Even just the process of walking around and talking to students is something that we have to be anxious and mindful of,” Murphy said. “It’s all these little tiny things that really seem to add up in the end.”

Murphy said they remember having relatively similar thoughts to the WSU students about the quarantine process, and they are surprised at how long the pandemic has lasted.

“I was hoping that it was temporary and by summer or fall we would be back open,” Murphy said. “But we were all wrong.”

Ultimately, despite some of the different experiences people have faced at WSU, Murphy said they believe things can improve for students and teachers alike throughout the coming semester.

“Am I hopeful that with our current restrictions things will get better? Yes,” Murphy said. “Am I holding out a whole lot of hope? Not at the moment.”