By Hayley Farrell

How College Students are Coping with a Full-Time Online Education 

Veronica James was able to take all but one class remotely for the Fall semester, which may put her family at risk.

Another student named Daniel Whitaker is struggling with being his own boss.

While Samantha Ritter is protecting her family by being remote this semester her music classes have proven difficult.

These are a few of the college students who have faced new obstacles at the start of the 2020 Fall Semester on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Veronica James, 19 of Brookline has elected to take online classes during the pandemic. She lives with her brother and her mother who are both at high risk for developing COVID-19.

“I really wanted to do all of my classes online. I’m trying to have as little contact with people as possible,” James said.

However, James describes that the math class she is required to take this semester is held in person with no exceptions. She has no other choice but to attend the class in person.

“I hate that it is only one class. I would be more understanding if it were multiple classes. But one does not make sense to me. I have a high-risk family and I can potentially get them sick every day,” said James.

Many colleges and universities have gone either partially or fully remote for the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Students have been faced with numerous new challenges since the start of online classes.

Daniel Whitaker, 22 of Beechview is also a student at CCAC. He is participating in online classes as well, all of which are able to be taken remotely.

“I’m glad that I can continue to quarantine properly because the virus is a very scary thing to think about. But online classes are kinda tough,” Whitaker said.

Whitaker expressed his difficulty focusing due to the flexible schedule of online classes. “I often get distracted with things around me. I feel like I definitely work better in a classroom setting.”

“I have my own set up with my computer and my desk, and yet I still find myself watching tv or scrolling through YouTube when I should be listening to a lecture. Sometimes I even sign off right after my name is called during attendance,” said Whitaker.

The students at Carnegie Mellon were also given the option to either attend this semester remotely or in-person.

Samantha Ritter, 21 of Squirrel Hill studies music at Carnegie Mellon University. She has chosen to try and continue her studies online.

“I play the trumpet and clarinet, which aren’t easy to study remotely. I think it is inefficient,” said Ritter.

Although Ritter describes difficulty in studying her music remotely, she explains that online classes are more appropriate for her special situation.

“Even though I am having a hard time with the classes, being remote is important for me because I have an infant son. Protecting him is my biggest concern,” Ritter said.

University officials also made comments on the current situation, describing the benefits of classes being taught remotely.

Johnene Bogard, 45 of Beaver County is the director of Human Resources at Carnegie Mellon University.

“The safety and health of students and staff here at CMU is the main concern of everyone involved. It is imperative that we maintain all of the proper health guidelines. Which is why online classes are so great during this time,” said Bogard.

Bogard went on to describe the importance of remote classes in regard to social distancing.

“CMU is a relatively large campus with a relatively large student body. The opportunity for students to attend remotely increases the safety of everyone involved. We even have professors who are instructing classes remotely. I think it is a great way to combat the spread of COVID-19,” Bogard said.

Online classes have become the new normal essentially for college students and school students as well.

Despite the fact that it improves the opportunity for social distancing, remote students have found themselves struggling to stay on track now that they are responsible for themselves completely when it comes to their education.

“There should be more individual accommodation. This situation is all new to us and no one knows what is going to happen in the future. It seems like a lot of schools are showing a lack of understanding,” said Veronica James.

This piece is from Multiplatform Magazine Reporting Digital Magazine FALL 2020 Issue “Good Trouble – The New Normal.”