PHOTO GALLERY: ‘Surthriving’ in a Liminal Education

This Spring 2021, college students face another semester of online classes after almost a year of interrupted daily life in the U.S. Mixed feelings dominate as students press on into their third semester of adjusted learning, with most classes being taught online synchronously and asynchronously. Here are ten glimpses into some of the opinions and spaces students have had to carve out in their personal lives to make room for their public learning experience.

Aaron Carpenter, a senior double major in Biology and Psychology, said he does not like the idea of online classes, as he has ADHD and the format is not conducive to his learning style. “It’s not what anyone expected.” (Kara Haselton)
Martha McGougan, a junior Studio Art major, has gotten used to “creating” in their own space, but it’s not ideal. She and her friends came up with a word to express their experience: “surthriving.” (Kara Haselton)
Noelle Banks, a junior Public Relations major likes doing online classes. She stated that she feels more organized with everything being online and is able to give better responses to teachers. (Kara Haselton)
Jacob Villemagne, a senior Computer Science major, said that before COVID-19 changed his college education, he was able to get help from professors. “But now, it’s just zoom meetings and emails… I’m passing my classes but I don’t feel like I’m learning anything.” (Kara Haselton)
Cammie Hogan, a junior Communication Sciences and Disorders major, has mostly asynchronous classes and enjoys being able to set her own schedule. This format has allowed her to take courses at three different institutions for her pre-med track. (Kara Haselton)
Marley Priest, a senior self-designing a degree in Multimedia Production Design, took a lot of online classes in high school: “I know how to do well in them, but I don’t get as much out of them.” This semester they chose reading-heavy classes so they “have something to do.” (Kara Haselton)
Caleb Owen, a junior self-designing a degree in Leadership Studies and Community Engagement stated, “It’s not my preferred delivery of class, however, I’m finding ways to establish a routine.” He stated that it makes him better appreciate the two in-person classes he does have. (Kara Haselton)
Taylor Houston, a junior Sustainable Development major, is “not a fan” of online classes, but prefers a hybrid class schedule, meeting synchronously once a week, leaving the other day for independent work. (Kara Haselton)
Karen Mumma, a junior Communications major, said online classes feel more like a job than an education; “It’s all meeting I have to go to and projects I have to complete before the deadline and less enrichment.” (Kara Haselton)
Brendan Martini, junior Political Science major, does not enjoy online classes. “The thing I loved about going to class was the walks to and from class and being a part of the town.” “Being in a classroom with other kids made me feel like I’m a part of something bigger than myself.” (Kara Haselton)

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