As the 2021 fall semester comes to an end at Saint Joseph’s University and the stress of finals builds up, It is important to remember that this has been the first normal semester professors and students have experienced since fall 2019. 

    It is obvious that the pandemic has affected everyone, but these effects can vary depending on the year and the student attending school at the start of the pandemic. 

       Junior Mk Mcdonough was a freshman when the pandemic began. This has been her second normal semester at Saint Joseph’s University, the first being her first semester freshman year. “It has been so long since my very first normal semester; it definitely feels different but I would not say it feels new,” Mcdonough said. Mcdonough has experienced both in-person and online classes at Saint Joseph’s University, but would rather be in a classroom than taking class virtually at home. “I prefer in-person classes because it motivates me to work hard and learn the material. Online classes could be convenient at times when I am sick or unable to attend class, but overall I benefit from in person class rather than online,” Mcdonough added. 

     Freshman Raiah Ferguson is preparing for finals as her first semester at Saint Joseph’s University comes to an end. Ferguson feels that because of the pandemic she was not prepared for college. “The last two years online allowed people to build a bubble around themselves and lose communication skills, as well as academically, it was difficult for some students to strive because of quarantine etc,” Ferguson said. Adjusting to college as a freshman is difficult as it is but starting off after completing classes virtually and being isolated is a different story.  “I started off the semester strong academically, however mentally I just felt like I had to figure out who I was again because it’s a larger space and tons of new people! I also just lost a lot of motivation during my first semester of college because I didn’t expect the transition to be so quick and freshmen were expected to just ‘get with the program’ and ‘keep up’ with the professor no matter how difficult it was,” Ferguson added. 

       Transferring to a new university is already challenging. Transferring to a new university during a pandemic is a different story. Junior Brendan Hannum is a computer science major and transferred to Saint Joseph’s University this semester after attending Montgomery County Community College for his first two years of college. Hannum favored his first semester at Saint Joseph’s University this year over his past three virtual semesters. Hannum explains that in person classes also work better with his major. “You can learn the same things online as in person in computer science. There are plenty of free online resources,  but personally I work better in person. If you are a self-motivated person, you do not need to go to college to pursue a career in computer science, the resources are all there online.” Hannum said. 

    After the experience of attending school virtually, Hopefully students will be better prepared for the return to school if a situation happens like this again.

Transfer Student Brendan Hannum. Photo by: Brendan Hannum
Junior Mk Mcdonough. Image by: Mk Mcdonough