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How Are Students Taking Advantage of an In Person School Year

By Shelley Dean and Violet Taber, Co-Arts-and-Entertainment-Editors

Students are back on campus after more than a year of uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Professors and students adapted to a virtual classroom environment after news of the virus broke during spring break of the 2020 school year. Now, campus life is making a return.

Senior music education major Kaitlyn Sottung recalls how she felt when she realized she wouldn’t be coming back to school after spring break ended in 2020. 

“I was terrified, honestly. As a music major, not being on campus and not having the facilities with pianos, or being able to sing with other people was a very scary experience for me,” Sottung said.

Sottung, like many other students, had to adjust to an online environment that was not ideal for her major. She had to buy a keyboard with her own money in order to complete her spring courses.

“The faculty in my department have tried their best to make everything as normal as possible, but I don’t think anyone can learn one hundred percent under these circumstances,” Sottung said. 

Sottung has missed many of her friends’ senior recitals due to the pandemic, something she has looked forward to since her freshman year. However, Sottung is thankful that she will be able to perform her senior recital in person this semester, and participate in other in-person events throughout the year.

“I’m going to take advantage of this year by going to every LIU event that I can and plan out everything on my calendar,” Sottung said.

While students involved in Post’s music department faced their own unique challenges as a result of the pandemic, other departments also had to readapt their education styles to deal with their own set of challenges.

“[I was] honestly a little nervous [when COVID-19 hit] because I didn’t know how I would be able to get in my observation hours if we were not allowed in the schools,” junior childhood education major Jackelyn Maltese said. 

Instead of in-person learning, the education department had to turn to online classes, and the resources and opportunities available to students weren’t always comparable to those they would’ve had if they were in-person.

“There were not many videos online that were good,” Maltese said. “Not being able to do group work together was hard because that’s when we would share our lesson plans we created and get input.”

With in-person learning finally back on campus, Maltese is looking forward to the opportunities that will come with being back. 

“[I’m looking forward to] being able to meet with professors in person when I need it instead of having to schedule a Zoom call,” Maltese said.

Students are also excited for the social aspect that in-person learning brings back to campus. Many students weren’t able to see their friends throughout a majority of the pandemic, and being back on campus has given them a chance to be with the people that online learning kept them away from. 

“I think the thing I will take advantage of most is seeing my friends who I have not gotten to see in a while, and try my best to meet up with them when possible,” Maltese said.

While some students are figuring out how to make their last few years on campus memorable, others are coming to campus for the first time. Freshman acting major Teddy Brock is still adjusting to this new environment in his first few weeks of school.

“Being in a pandemic made me want to go further away [from home], have a new experience, something I’d never have where I’m from. I’m from Atlanta. I wanted a change of pace,” Brock said. 

Brock was confused but excited when he first found out he would be getting two weeks off of school in 2020. He became more frightened when he realized all of the opportunities he would be missing. 

“I would miss connecting with the people in my last year of high school,” Brock said.

Brock social distanced and stayed safe throughout the pandemic. He attempted to fit everything that he missed into his summer after he got vaccinated. Now that he is on campus, Brock wants to make sure he is taking full advantage of everything that college has to offer. 

“I’m excited for meeting new people, making new connections and living in the present, appreciating art, and being excited to learn, study and learn what I love,” Brock said.

Students are looking forward to taking advantage of all the opportunities being afforded to them now that the semester has started in-person.  

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