Due to COVID-19, many students are either taking classes completely in person, completely online or in a hybrid schedule. With this new change in how they learn, students may be facing the additional challenge of maintaining and balancing their academic and social lives. Keeping in touch with friends while also staying on top of their grades was already a prevalent concern for students prior to having to learn online, but now it’s all the more difficult to do so.
Students taking all their classes at home might still be adjusting to the difficulties that come with Zoom. It is easy to get distracted at home, especially since all of your personal comforts are just a few feet away, but most students who are taking classes from home are trying to make the best of it and keep everything balanced.
While learning from home has been difficult for senior Michael Matalavage, he’s grateful for the opportunity because it allows him to keep his parent with significant health concerns safe.
“Learning from home has been extremely tough,” said Matalavage in an email. “I know that personally I tend to be more reserved and less forthcoming with answers and discussions in class, just because it can be hard to hear if someone is talking in the classroom and I am afraid I will just shout right over someone.”
Senior Aaron Bailey takes his classes on a hybrid schedule and has been juggling being in person for some and being at home for others since the start of the semester.
“I do go back and forth sometimes, and I will say it’s an interesting experience for the sole fact that outside of class nothing really feels the same anymore on campus,” Bailey said in an email. “A lot of the different places where one would hang out with their friends have been closed off as a precaution against Covid-19, so once class is finished, I usually find myself wandering or just going straight home,but that’s just the way it is. “
The abrupt closure that Iona experienced in March followed by the state shutdowns left many students struggling to keep in touch with friends. Many welcomed the start of the semester as an opportunity to get back to normal and hang out with all their friends again, but Iona’s offering of a hybrid schedule hasn’t made it easier to reconnect.
Bailey uses Discord, an instant messaging app predominantly used by the gaming community, to keep in touch with his friends since he can’t see them in person as often anymore.
“It was a rare sight for my whole group to be able to get together in person before the pandemic so most of the time we’d keep tabs with each other through Discord or through just texting each other on a regular,” Bailey said in an email. “Now, that’s true more than ever before and I almost strictly spoke and played games with my friends over Discord. We’ve got to do our best to stay safe you know.”
Balancing academic and social lives with a hybrid schedule may be hard, but as the semester continues and students get more used to their schedules and workloads, there is hope that things will get better and we can all get back to hanging out like we used to.