Anchored backpacks: College students struggle to stay afloat amid increased workload
Junior, Ashlyn Auriemma, tries to get all her assignments done
Photo by Mackenzie Lewis
Students at Cedar Crest College are finding themselves drowning in an exorbitant amount of coursework due to the coronavirus outbreak this semester.
With many of the classes transitioning to asynchronous learning, students are not only having to teach themselves a majority of their class material, but also receiving nearly twice the amount of homework for it. Their frustration is evident everywhere, especially on the college app. Here, the students have been confessing how stressed they have been the past couple of months amid the posts of event announcements and club meetings. One student on the app even went about calculating the amount of time it took for her classes, labs, assignments, and research--there was less than two to four hours per day to take care of everything else in her life. With math like that, it is no wonder students are so aggravated.
“I understand where professors are coming from with all this work, and I get it’s probably just as hard for them,” expressed one student, who asked to remain anonymous. “But…we’re dying out here. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic. Some of us are trying to maintain jobs, altered versions of extracurriculars, some semblance of a social life, and on and on and on, while also struggling to maintain our physical and mental health as well as safety….It’s honestly just all overwhelming and frustrating and I don’t understand why they can’t see that most of us are past our breaking limits.”
As this student pointed out, it is not all that simple on the professors’ side either. With a transition so substantial, they have had to rework their entire course around these new restrictions.
“Serving students both online and in person has been more of a struggle than many of us may have originally anticipated,” confessed Elizabeth Ortiz, an assistant professor in the Communications department. “I hope that our students know how hard we work to try to get this right and while there are times when it feels overwhelming for us all, we are so grateful for their patience and so happy to be able to have them here (or there) as a Cedar Crest student.”
In addition to Ortiz’s words of understanding and gratitude, she brings up another point that, in the past, seemed to lighten the load for a lot of students.
“I really miss being able to meet with students before and after class just to catch up and talk about life, school, Netflix, and everything in between,” Ortiz divulged. “Those moments…really make being a Cedar Crest faculty member special. When I talk with my faculty colleagues, we all talk about really missing those in-between moments.”
Perhaps it is these moments that the college community, as a whole, is lacking. But between the workloads and the frenzy to figure out how to make life possible amid COVID-19, when are students and faculty supposed to find these breaths of fresh air? Until there is some break in the outbreak or higher administration does something about the situation, it looks as though everyone is simply stuck in the same sinking boat.