Students react to virtual transition

By Endeja Carter

William Peace University moved classes online starting Nov. 9, due to a spike in cases of COVID-19 on campus. While the original plan was to hold virtual classes for one week, courses will remain online for the duration of the semester. 

Many students had mixed feelings  about moving online abruptly two weeks before Thanksgiving break. 

Tiffany Camperos-Brizuela, a senior who lives in student housing at Village Green, is one of them. 

“At first, I was upset because we were only two weeks away from finishing the semester in person,” said Camperos-Brizuela. “Then I took a step back and looked at the situation and the University did a great job in making this tough decision.”

Other students felt the move was the best way to keep everyone safe so that students could potentially return to in-person classes for the spring semester, which is scheduled to start Jan. 20. 

“I was so excited when the University announced us moving online. I feel like we as a community are much safer,” said senior Asia Davis. “Things will get better if we continue to work together and practice all the CDC guidelines. Being in the apartment doing school online is also more relaxing.”

The university email noting the transition included information stressed that students should wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and wash their hands often.  that should keep everyone safe for the remainder of the semester.

Each of the latest cases is a direct result of individuals not following the CDC and WPU health and safety guidelines,” the email stated. “We must continue to diligently work together to help control the spread of the virus.”

WPU administrators say they are  continuing to closely monitor campus, county, and state data, and will provide updates on future plans and changes.

The concern of returning to virtual learning and being back where they began last March is as yet a concern for students and the semester. 

Students in online classes often report issues with maintaining a routine and motivation.

Maranda Sterling, a liberal studies major, began her senior year of college at WPU this fall after transferring from Wake Take two years ago. She ended up going virtual to attend remote classes for the semester. And like many college students, she is trying to stay motivated, and also missing out on the college experiences bothers her but feels like things are better for her this way.

“College has been a safe space where I’m the most comfortable,” said Sterling. “I would be so much happier if I was there in person. I had confidence in my routine, and I was always by friends who made me feel excited to start the day. With online learning, I just carry on about my day with no excitement or any emotion.”

However, with online learning also provides more flexibility with scheduling and completing assignments. 

Students shared that most of their professors are honoring mental health, and are more understanding of other things that could interfere with their work.

Adapting to a new normal, Zekia Randle is a WPU senior who said she valued in-person classes this fall, particularly having face-to-face time with friends. She knows online learning is safer but doesn’t mind being on campus because of all the safety precautions WPU has taken to make being on campus safer.

“I think I’ve gained skills with handling procrastination and sticking to a schedule, which has caused me to be more organized this fall. The hardest part of online learning is staying interested and motivated,” said Randle. “Without sticking to a schedule, I easily fall into a cycle of procrastination and feeling down.”