Uncertainty inside and outside the classroom


Photo courtesy stac.edu

Anthony Lulgjuraj, Reporter

Uncertainty has been the main topic of conversation since the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage across the world last year. We may never know when the world will return back to the one we knew beforehand or if we ever will. The world has adapted to living with COVID-19 and people have faced massive challenges in doing so.

Specifically, students and professors here at St. Thomas Aquinas College have had some difficulties adapting to the “new normal” we live in. One of the biggest challenges facing students is managing stress and keeping up with their mental health. Before the pandemic, there were many different activities students could partake in to reduce stress, such as going to the Fitness Center, playing pool in the Romano Student-Alumni Center, or simply having a football toss on the front lawn. 

Now, students refer to staying indoors to watch TV or to play video games rather than partaking in outdoor activities. Many students have had difficulties with online courses because in the comfort of their homes and dorm rooms there are many different distractions available to them. There is also the constant uncertainty of how the number of COVID-19 cases amongst the student and faculty body will affect whether or not the campus will be put on a “pause” and transition to completely online courses. 

Professors have also dealt with this same feeling of constant uncertainty about whether or not they will be able to hold in-person classes or not. Professor Kimberly Burns teaches biology labs here at STAC and expressed some of the challenges she has faced with teaching online during the pandemic.

“Overall trying to teach to two different types of student learners is rough for a lab,” Professor Burns explained. “Lab at its essences, dictates a hands-on experience. I have tried my best to use technology such as in lab cameras, tablets, and laptops. I have searched for videos that can emulate a hands-on experience for remote students but I don’t feel it does justice.” 

Other professors like Professor Burns have experienced the same issues of trying to give online students the same experiences as in-person students. In classes such as science labs which are very hands-on courses, professors are struggling to give students material that can serve the same purpose. 

The uncertainty of the future has affected both students and professors in some ways alike and some ways different. It was recently announced that STAC does plan to lift many of the COVID-19 restrictions because of the encouraging amount of people receiving their vaccines. However, the pandemic has not gone away and the uncertainty surrounding the future of it will follow the College and the world through the summer and into next fall.