Time Zones, Home Life, Internet Issues: SMU Students Struggle to Adjust to Online Classes

A large part of the college student’s routine is listening to lectures in a classroom with other students. Now, daily expectations have been turned upside down. Due to the rapid spread of the novel Coronavirus, college students around the globe have been forced into online instruction in place of in-person classes.

For many students, these adjustments are difficult. School closures have sent college students back home to high-energy environments with lots of distractions. Many college students are struggling to find a quiet space to work inside their house.

“I don’t like the change to online school because I don’t have a quiet environment to study and I like going to lectures,” SMU sophomore Kelly Riggs said.

Not only are students adjusting to life back at home, many students are also adjusting to a time change. SMU has students enrolled in classes across the world and meeting at a specific central standard time is not always convenient. SMU sophomore Maddie Reed struggles with this, as she is currently in California on a different time zone.

“The change to online classes has been a real adjustment,” SMU sophomore Maddie Reed said. “Having to wake up at 6 a.m. for class is not ideal, but at least I can tune into lectures from my bed.”

Online instruction has also challenged many performing arts majors. Much of their coursework is based on in-person activities, which are difficult to transition to virtually.

“Going online has been difficult, but the professors are doing all they can to make it as normal as possible,” dance major Caroline Waters said. “It’s hard to feel like you’re getting the same experience that you would in an actual studio, where the instructor can see your body more clearly and correct your technique physically as well as verbally.”

Additionally, using technology solely is not something students can always count on like they can with an in-person lecture. As a result, students worry about the technological challenges they will face throughout the semester.

“My only concerns would be that because everything is online, there’s a chance that computers won’t work or that we will have to deal with technical difficulties,” SMU student Abby Doll said. “Just yesterday we couldn’t hear my math teacher talking for part of the lesson and it was a struggle trying to get the sound to work again.”

With these concerns in mind, students are afraid of how these effects will negatively impact final grades. SMU recently announced they are joining other universities in changing this semester’s grading policy. Students such as Reed see this change as something good in a time of stress.

“I like the new system because it gives students more flexibility during the pandemic,” Reed said. “I was very anxious about my grades and how my GPA would be impacted by online classes and was relieved when SMU made the announcement.”

However, a lot is still unclear for students and faculty on where this semester will take them. SMU students such as Doll are trying to prepare for how this semester will affect their academic careers – especially, the ability to learn coursework and do homework.

“I think I will still learn a lot and get through the material, it will just take more motivation for me than normal and some getting used to,” Doll said. “I know some of my teachers are changing the way they choose to test us due to the switch to online, which is unfortunate because I have already gotten a feel for what their tests are like and now I have to learn that all over again.”

Students will be finishing this academic semester virtually and are anxiously waiting until they can see their classmates in lecture halls once again.