The Pros and Cons To Graduating During the Pandemic

Jeremiah Toney

Was this school year tougher than previous school years in terms of workloads?

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As the first week of May rolls in Cinco De Mayo maybe on your mind, but for college students in general it is the most frustrating week of the school year…finals week. This year however, has been extremely different then years in the past . It has taken an even bigger toll on students who are seniors, looking to graduate from school in the Spring. Senior year is a stressful time as it is, but with the world still being in a pandemic, students had bigger concerns than just graduating from college.

“Trying to graduate from The University of Arkansas during the pandemic is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. It was draining mentally, because I was trying to do all my homework while in the back of my mind I not knowing if the world would just go back to being like it used to be.” said Khalil Garland who is on staff for the Razorbacks now, due to a heart condition that cut his collegiate career short. He stated that being stuck in quarantine due to the teams COVID Safety protocols back in August of 2020, and not being able to freely go outside after doing papers and assignments was tough, because he felt trapped and confined to his room. For some this quarantine wasn’t the biggest problem it was having to adjust to virtual classes.

I got a chance to catch up with, Senior Spring Queen and soon to be alumni of Henderson State’s Olivia Dodson, and she stated, “The majority of the classes that I had to take were virtual. So it forced me to focus, study, and teach myself more that I previously have had to. With that being said, I believe that all of this molded me to appreciate graduating even more!”

As students began to prepare for their finals they have realized that they have missed certain assignments online due to being pelted with work from this COVID year. All students that I interviewed have mentioned that they feel as though teachers are having a tough time gauging how much work they should give students due to the fact that a lot of classes didn’t occur face to face, but through zoom calls and online assignments. Students feel as though this year, teachers have doubled the work in comparison to previous years of college due to the fact that they don’t exactly know how much work to give, because of the increased amount of free time or leisure time that students have had this year. Another thing that students found to be a challenge is trying to form a relationship with their professors as well as classmates.

“Not being in class and having to participate virtually can hinder your relationship with your teacher. Getting in contact with them for answers to small questions became more of a challenge. Previously you could ask them before or after class, now we solely rely on email or zoom office hours, ” said Senior pitcher for the Reddies Softball team Mallory Brewer. She also stated that, ” Communicating with classmates whether it be a group project or just asking them a question can be hard if you didn’t already know them. Most of us have never seen half of the people in our class before and not every teacher requires you to have your camera on, so classmates are strangers.”

This was also a problem for Senior Maiyah Hunter.

“This year was more complicated due to the lack of overall engagement. Not being able to engage with classmates and faculty in person and only through a computer screen was extremely tough. There was an unspoken awkwardness even when in person, because we had masks on and in some situations still remained six feet apart due to social distancing.”

Although for many this year was a burden, for some whose teachers were less strict and understood the challenges of this year, it has been a little easier in some ways. ” My classes were a tad bit easier this year, because on tests my professors didn’t require a lockdown browser. This made tests a lot easier, because I could find the right answers and make good grades on the tests, even though I had a lot more small assignments than usual.” said senior guard for the Men’s Basketball Team Xavier Davenport.

This academic school year was one for the books. Anybody who graduates college should pat themselves on the back for their tremendous amount of time and energy spent on accomplishing their goal. However, this year more then ever if you are graduating this Spring, after an unforeseen year of 2020, you deserve a round of applause. Congrats Spring 2021 graduates, the stage awaits!