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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Campus

Commuters have mixed feelings about returning to campus


Over a year after UH moved to online operations, sophomores who’ve never attended class on campus, have mixed feelings about attending in-person. | Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

 

After a year full of surprises, some normalcy will be expected for the Fall 2021 semester. However, the return and transition to in-person classes, especially for commuters, has brought mixed opinions and feelings.

Many freshman or incoming sophomores have not visited the UH campus during this period of online classes. 

Nutritional science freshman Rosaleen Sweit has only visited the CASA testing center for in-person tests, while other parts of the campus remain a mystery to her and other freshmen.

“It kind of makes me anxious thinking about going on campus next semester because I don’t know where anything is,” Sweit said. “I haven’t really seen other parts of campus.”

Sharing a similar experience to Sweit was information systems freshman Abdullah Ghafoor, who has recently visited the campus.

“I sometimes even felt like I wasn’t even a UH student,” Ghafoor said. “When I visited the campus this week, I didn’t feel like I was actually a student there, but felt like a visitor.”

 

While online learning posed a challenge for many, according to some students, it also had its benefits.

Biomedical sciences freshman Nabeeha Hasan, lives an hour away from campus and said online learning helped her save money and manage her time. 

“In terms of classes, I personally found online amazing because I could do my work and attend classes on my own time,” Hasan said.

Sweit echoed this benefit and said online learning made her work and school schedule more flexible with the asynchronous options. However, at times it was hard to focus or get the help needed from professors and TAs. 

Another benefit of remote learning was it provided students with the luxury to pause module videos and take notes for the asynchronous classes, Ghafoor said. 

Online learning, while strange at first, has become the new normal. Many students can multitask, go at their own pace and even save money now. The transition to face-to-face classes will affect the new normal that many have created during the pandemic.

Instead of sitting on a bed or in front of a computer for hours, commuters will have to adjust to driving back and forth to campus. 

“This will prove to be challenging since it’s not something I’ve done since starting college,” Sweit said.

As a result, transportation will become a new issue that many students will need to take care of. This means carpooling, gas prices and traffic will need to be considered. 

Hasan, however, is concerned with another issue. During online learning, social interactions were very limited and merely included opening your camera or microphone from time to time. Friendships and interactions for freshman commuters as a result have been restricted. 

“It’ll be overwhelming going from remote classes and little interaction with peers to a fully packed weekly schedule that is almost entirely in social settings,” Hasan said. “Since online school became our new normal, it’ll take some time getting used to the old normal without feeling that social anxiety.”

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