Just as the Spring 2022 Semester was about to begin, all courses were set to proceed online- at least for the first two weeks.

Photo credit: Malia Arpon

The quick shift to remote learning came as a surprise to many students, myself included. In just a couple of days, I noticed that my Canvas inbox filled with messages notifying me that my classes scheduled to be in-person were now offered remotely, either asynchronous or synchronous. All but one course, my Astronomy Lab, transitioned to remote learning. Then, just as I thought my Fullerton College experience would shift, the tides turned.

As a second-year student and a Fall 2022 Transfer Cohort member, remote learning was all I’ve ever known about FC. The first time I ever stepped onto campus was the Fall 2021 semester. I was shocked to see how beautiful the campus is and genuinely appreciate the “big university” feel.

When the Return to the Hive process began, there seemed to be widespread anticipation. Students were ready for a change despite the #HiveImmunity initiative that required students to be vaccinated to set foot on campus.

While health and safety remain a top priority at FC, the impact on mental health with continuous remote learning has been detrimental.

Humans are wired for connection and community. I would even go as far as to say that college students embody that sentiment the most. Without community, students tend to feel alone and isolated. For me, remote learning has become progressively challenging to stay motivated without interacting with peers to share a classroom with.

Admittingly, before the semester began, I had anxiety about interacting with my peers and sitting in a classroom for the first time in years. This is the same anxiety that developed during quarantine at the onset of the pandemic.

Since then, I’ve grown very fond of my only in-person class. Every Thursday, I sit in a classroom with seven students and one teacher. Despite the small number of people to interact with, it’s the highlight of my week.

I look forward to conversing with my 2 lab partners and having the opportunity to ask questions in real-time. A sense of comfort comes with sitting in a classroom and having a shared experience with others. You can’t find this in a zoom breakout room or a canvas discussion.

I feel disengaged in my four other classes that meet at least once a week via Zoom. There is a considerable margin between how much information I retain in my in-person class versus my other remote courses. Ultimately, my success as a student is heavily related to my comprehension of the course materials and the support I feel in class. In this way, all the areas where in-person classes may support student success are also where remote learning lacks any aid.

After ten weeks, I realized that I didn’t understand what it meant to be a hornet until I attended this class. I’ve never felt like I was a part of the Hornet family because I was missing the connection to my community. As I look to transfer to a 4-year university in the Fall, I will cherish the times I’ve had in class and strive to find more opportunities for community.

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