Everyone is anxiously awaiting the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once it is over, businesses can fully reopen, families can be reunited and friends can spend time with each other once more.
The pandemic has taken its toll on everyone, but college students have been particularly hard hit. Many had to leave their dorms, fly home and adjust to online learning for the first time ever when schools closed. Students who had never taken classes online before found it frustrating and inconvenient. Fortunately for these students, they will be able to return to in-person classes when the pandemic is over. However, not all students will be going back to campus.
There are many of us, including myself, who have never even set foot on campus. We are the online student community, the actual online student community. Since before the pandemic hit, we have been online learning from afar - in the shadows if you will. The problems and complaints many students are now voicing with online learning are all too familiar to actual online students. Wi-Fi constantly dropping, teachers not being easily accessible for questions and being interrupted by your cat during a test are all in a day’s work (school) for us.
While everyone has had to deal with this for months, we have had to deal with this for years. For whatever reason, this rumor of online learning being easy or more convenient has circulated amongst students for years. People thought that all online students do is log on for five minutes, read a few slides and get an easy A. Now that students everywhere have been forced to adjust to online learning, people are starting to get that this isn’t the case.
Between buying the right computer, downloading the correct software, searching for a required webcam and understanding where to log in, it’s enough to make your head spin! All of the students who spent most of their time taking classes in person before last March are only getting a taste of the frustrations online students face constantly.
Now hear me out, I am in no way saying that I dislike on campus students at all. I earned my first bachelor’s degree in person at California State University San Bernardino. However, since I began my journey as an online student, I gained a newfound respect for the online learning community. Now that all college students have experienced the ups and downs of online learning, I hope they too have gained a newfound respect for their fellow online students.
All we ask of the students who will eventually go back to campus, is please do not forget about us.
To all my fellow online students who think that they are invisible and that nobody can hear them, do not worry. You are not invisible; you are special, and you are not alone. In the end, we are all Wildcats. Maybe we just need to roar a little louder.
Sean (he/him) is a business administration major from California. He enjoys playing video games and watching Disney+ in his free time.