Students in Professor Erickson-Pesetski’s First Year Seminar class practice mask use and social distancing during class. 
Photo provided by MU

First Year Students Adapt to Campus and Online Courses

Cinnamon McDonald

How are first-year students adjusting to new practices of wearing masks and social distancing, while beginning a new daily here at school? Many have found the adjustment to be fairly smooth.

Danielle Carlson, a residential student, says: “[Manchester University] is a nice little campus.” She also claims that life before this semester at MU isn’t much changed, considering the restrictions over the past few months, and MU’s guidelines are not much different.

Carlson made a point about sports and band practices: “cutting holes in masks,” she thought, doesn’t seem practical while doing marching band or any of the sport practices. She wonders why we need to wear a mask, if there are holes cut in them?

Students such as Rayana Michalak and Nathan Brown have not seen much change from high school and other facility practices to stop the spread.

Brown mentions a worry about adjusting to the online classes. Before now he hasn’t had much online class experience. He worries that the learning won’t be the same or he won’t be able to learn as well in an online setting.

They aren’t the only students that have shared comments about the online classes. For most this is their first or second semester online, or even partially online, and it seems it isn’t easy to keep track of assignments or stay in touch quickly with professors.

Trey Addiar also notes that he doesn’t feel the student should be paying the full price of tuition if they aren’t able to access all the facilities on campus or have all their classes on campus.

This will be his second semester at MU with current practices in effect. Specifically he also stated that with online classes there are barriers such as understanding accents of the professors and the inability to have hands-on assistance. Is there a way we would be able to eliminate these barriers, he wonders?

There has also been mention of troubles with having questions answered in a timely manner. What if you don’t understand something  taught, but don’t receive a response to your question before the due date of the related assignment? Will there be a higher fail rate this semester due to the current conditions?

Overall these students do not see an issue with wearing masks and other measures being taken due to the current pandemic.

However, one struggle as mentioned by Maddie Hilliker was the lack of family connections and being away from family for the first time. To help make this school feel like home, there have been several on-campus events, such as the bonfire last weekend, which are intended to help new students with the overall adjustment to and familiarization with the campus.