Students and faculty alike can agree that the coronavirus pandemic has been challenging in many ways. With many classes online this semester and restrictions on in-person gatherings across campus, many students have chosen to go remote, sometimes opting to live at home. These students are still part of the Drake community, but they’ve had different experiences than most students on-campus.
The Drake community has taken a lot of important measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in order to protect vulnerable populations and Des Moines as a whole. But sitting in front of a computer for hours on end and seeing classmates solely through a screen can feel isolating for many students.
“I’ve had a difficult time making friends while learning remote, and it’s definitely been a challenge,” said first-year Emma Sawicki.
Though living at home has its challenges, many students have also noted the benefits they’ve faced living away from school this year. While the pandemic has often isolated students from their friends, it has also brought families closer together.
“An advantage that I’ve experienced with learning from home is that I’m now able to see my friends from high school more often and getting to spend time with my family,” said sophomore Payton Slobodzian.
Another benefit for many remote students is the reduced cost of living at home. The pandemic has put many families in difficult financial situations. Living at home and learning remotely can save students some extra money each semester.
The administration recently announced that it plans for most students to return to in-person classes and activities for Fall 2021. However, Drake has made it clear that remote learning is still an option next semester. Remote students shared various opinions.
“I don’t think I’ll be doing remote learning again next semester,” Slobodziann said. “I’ve done it for two spring semesters in a row now, and I’d like to be able to say that I’ve been on campus for a full school year.”
While some students plan on returning in the fall, others have enjoyed the different learning style remote learning allows for and are considering continuing remote learning.
“I’m someone who works really well at my own pace and I just enjoyed this year as much as I could,” Sawicki said.