With virtual learning, many students are able to further their education through hybrid or online classes but is it worth the toll it’s taking on their mental health?
With the ongoing spread of COVID-19, many schools, colleges, and universities have kept students away from being in classroom settings for extended periods of time and pushed for them to meet with teachers or professors via Webex, Zoom, and other video chat platforms.
N.C. Central University has followed Phase 3 guidelines proposed by Gov. Roy Cooper to provide altered instruction methods for students and their safety. The guidelines incorporate both online classes and hybrid classes, in which 50 percent instruction is online, and another 50 percent is in person.
Some N.C. Central students have made it known how they feel about the new learning policy and how it has affected them both mentally and physically.
Many students have referred to this semester as “mentally exhausting” with their eyes glued to a screen for hours at a time. They also pointed out that the professors have been the cause of much of their mental stress.
“I feel like I have 100 assignments due at one time in the same day,” said N.C. Central senior Millie Mangum.“It’s been affecting my mind very bad, I don’t feel like learning anything and I’m just trying to rush to (receive) my degree at this point.”
Another student added that it’s harder for them to learn the course material in a virtual environment.
“I don’t think professors are being sensitive to students’ situations.” said an anonymous student. ”I don’t think it really has made me knowledgeably better because I’m focusing on making sure my work is done to the best of my ability rather than just learning the material.”
Another anonymous student mentioned how he was assigned a 10-page paper with a 30 slide presentation, an eight-page paper, a 20 slide presentation due, and another 10-page paper that was due in the same week.
Many students added that they want “empathy” from their professors, especially during this difficult time. The stress of work, school, and health is a lot for any person to take on.
Outside of her fellow Eagles, pharmaceutical science student Zaria Ray finds herself “exposed” in rare situations where most of her classes are in person but is remaining optimistic despite the struggle.
“In my experience, it has been a pretty interesting change. I feel like as a whole we’ve all had to make the best out of a difficult situation,” said Ray. “Being that five out of six of my classes are still in-person full time, I have felt that my chances of being exposed are higher than most students. I have had some issues as far as communication with some professors but overall it’s been good.”
N.C. Central sophomore Jaden Jennifer decided that his mental and physical health was more important than risking another year on campus before making the decision to take a semester off.
“Honestly, I find it hard trying to learn behind a computer screen,” Jennifer explained. “I’m more of a physical hands-on type of learner so that was a deal-breaker for me.”
Jennifer said that if virtual learning continues, he will be enrolling in a community college instead of going back to N.C. Central.
The future is uncertain surrounding how long COVID-19 will impact students and socially distanced learning but many N.C. Central students continue to place an emphasis on their mental and physical health while earning an education in a pandemic.
For more information about N.C. Central’s COVID-19 safety policies and updates, visit www.nccu.edu/coronavirus