College with COVID restraints now nearly normal

College student packing
David John packs for college life with the possibility of COVID at the University of Maryland. Credit: Ayanna John JSHOP Reporter

By Ayanna John

JSHOP Reporter

David John is a 22-year-old incoming senior at the University of Maryland. He is eager to leave home to go to campus finally. With his wait almost over, he still has to deal with restrictions due to COVID-19. 

COVID-19 started back in December of 2019. The first outbreak was in China, then slowly spread to other countries, forcing the world to lockdown. 

After about six months, colleges began reopening to continue academic learning in person. At the time, COVID-19 was still very new, so restrictions were more severe. 

But, almost a year later, many people have gotten the vaccine and practiced CDC guidelines. Therefore, attending college at this time is a lot more normal than it was last year. 

“It will probably affect study groups since we will have to be socially distanced, so we might have to take them online. Teachers will also be changing course loads to make it easier for students,” John said. 

John said he is aware that COVID-19 has a significant impact on students’ learning. Social distancing still applies to large gatherings, so study groups can not always be together in person. Since distance learning has been challenging for many, teachers will try to make the work less stressful for students to ease the distress. 

“My social skills will definitely change because when I am at home, I am a completely different person than when I am around friends or people my age,” John said. 

He has always been an extrovert, so being in lockdown and not socializing with his friends has been detrimental to him. Since colleges have large capacities, going there at this time will allow him to make many new friends and be as outgoing as he was before the pandemic. 

“I prefer traditional in-person learning because you get to be one-on-one with the professor, and I think people tend to learn better in that situation,” said his mom, Adie John. “At this time of COVID, I don’t mind him going because he’s fully vaccinated and follows CDC guidelines.” 

And although Adie John believes that COVID-19 is a serious illness that people need to be cautious about, she still wants David to go to college in person rather than online since it is very beneficial for his education and he gets the full college experience.

With in-person learning, David John said he could concentrate better with fewer distractions, have more time with the professor, gain hands-on learning opportunities, and more. 

“I am aware that going to college in-person during the pandemic is a risky thing to do for many reasons, but as long as I stay safe the whole time, it should feel no different than before all of this even happened,” he said.

Editor’s note: David John is the author’s older brother.

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