Campus CultureCulture

Students face different struggles in making the switch to online learning

Illustration by Wyatt Wurtenberg

With Boise State classes transitioning to online, students are now facing new challenges within the digital classroom. From a lack of motivation to struggling with time-management skills, coping with online learning is not a one-size-fits-all experience for students.

Between Zoom class meetings and digital coursework, the change from face-to-face learning to remote learning can feel like an uphill battle for some. Emily Long, a senior graphic design major, discussed her rough transition and dealing with ADHD in this scenario.

“I have honestly been really struggling with the transition to fully digital learning,” Long wrote in an email. “It’s mainly hard for me to pay attention when we’re in meetings online. I have pretty severe ADHD, so being able to focus has been really difficult for me. I find myself going through drawers, looking out my window more and getting distracted by my roommates.”

For many, being able to prioritize their daily tasks presents a challenge. Lexy Nagy, a senior English education major, often finds herself without a set schedule and plenty of uncertainty about moving along with everyday life.

“Do I attend this Zoom meeting, or do I do the dishes? It’s recorded, so I mean it’s not like I’m missing anything,” Nagy wrote in an email. “It’s hard to find the motivations to keep a regular time, or a partial schedule when there is none. I still work right now, as my workplace is considered essential, and my schedule is everywhere. I thrive on structure and scheduling, and it’s just not there.” 

Motivation can be one of the most difficult things to find during a time filled with uncertainty. Many students have claimed the determination to continue working or maintain a schedule feels out of reach, and for some seniors, their lack of motivation stems from knowing a celebration in the form of commencement will not be happening when they obtain their degrees in the spring. 

“I have absolutely no motivation for school,” Long wrote. “I especially have no motivation because it feels like I’m not working towards anything anymore since our commencement is moved to December. I’m officially just paying and working my butt off for a piece of paper, not even the celebration of the piece of paper.” 

Another way students have been coping with the alterations is through the help of their professors. Rex Bartlett, a senior political science and communications major, addressed that without the support of some of his professors, his transition may have gone differently.

“Absolutely, they have been helpful,” Bartlett wrote in an email. “If not for John McClellan, I would not have survived this transition. He has been incredibly flexible and has been very understanding of a lot of the extenuating circumstances that we as a class have been facing; job loss, economic slowdown and dwindling job prospects make papers on schoolwork feel a bit contrite.”

Additionally, throughout the transition, Boise State has provided resources for students struggling to make the switch to online learning. And, while it may seem that the negatives heavily outweigh the positives when it comes to digital learning, students are finding little things to keep their chins up and look at life with a new perspective. 

“On the positive side, there is a lot of flexibility and adaptations on the coursework and due dates,” Nagy wrote. “This is really encouraging to have instructors and students on the same page. I also find myself remembering the things I took for granted, and finding a new appreciation for life both as I knew it and as we know it. I get to see and adapt to what could very well happen in my future career, and we all get to have this experience that might help us to appreciate life a little bit more than before.”

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