Boise State students respond to the unique challenges of this semester

Being an A and B student was what Mikayla Kinney, a senior english writing, rhetoric and composition major has always been, but this semester has changed that. Struggling in online classes, Kinney is taking six courses to be able to graduate in four years. She is feeling pushed to her limit academically. 

“For me, senior year has been the hardest year. I’m taking six classes and I have to graduate in four years,” Kinney said. 

Kinney believes that many students are struggling because of the different course styles this semester, such as online, hybrid and physically-distanced classes. 

On top of taking six classes, Kinney is also an honors student, which means her classes are tougher than a normal class. 

“I’m managing my honors capstone courses, as well as internships. I used to be an A and B student, but this semester, I’m going to have to deal with C’s and D’s,” Kinney said. 

Kinney sees the effects of student struggles reflected in her professors. She can tell they are having a difficult time managing everyone’s concerns. 

“It must be hard for them to adjust to not having students in class regularly,” Kinney said. “They also have to deal with sickness and technical difficulties.” 

For Kinney, fatigue and anxiety is setting in. The semester has felt uncertain and anxious for her, especially with the pandemic and the election. 

“I want to feel certain of my health,” Kinney said. “I want to go to the grocery store without feeling paranoid.” 

[Photo of Chaney Kirkmore on Boise State campus]
Photo by Mackenzie Hudson | The Arbiter

One student, Chaney Kirkmire, a freshman criminal justice major, thinks she is doing well so far this semester. 

“Though COVID-19 is making things really difficult, I am sticking through it. I want to regain some sense of normalcy again,” Kirkmire said. 

Kirkmire feels her professors at Boise State are understanding of the current situation, but also of Kirkmire’s personal situation at home. So far, her professors have been flexible, and given her extensions and extra time to complete her work when necessary. 

Since it has been difficult to meet new people and make friends, Kirkmire believes her peers have not been affecting her academic life. 

“I live in the dorms, and it should be really easy to make friends. But because of COVID-19, we can’t do that,” Kirkmire said. 

The coronavirus pandemic has certainly been the most significant factor that led to change this semester, and Kirkmire is just one of the students who have been feeling its effects. 

[Graphic of a daily student and teacher emotion check-in chart]
Graphic by Jordan Barno | The Arbiter

“How I’m learning this semester isn’t normal,” Kirkmire said. “I hope it won’t be like this for all of my four years.” 

For Kirkmire, it is important to her that people check in with her to see how she is doing, especially right now, given the current situation. 

Another student, Kelsey Wieland, a freshman marketing major, is feeling the intensity of the semester, though she is performing well in her classes. She is taking five classes and believes most of them are going well.

Still, Wieland is feeling drained after all the work she has put in this semester.  

“I really like my in-person professors, but it’s been difficult to engage with my online professors,” Wieland said. 

Wieland’s peers have had the most significant effect on her academic life, as she will contact them for clarification or help on assignments. 

For Wieland, her courses are easier than her high school classes, but have a higher workload than what she is used to. 

After Thanksgiving break, classes at Boise State will be going online, and Wieland feels that transition might be detrimental to her learning, as she doesn’t feel as confident that she’ll be able to learn well via online classes.

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