What a year to start or return to college!

While some schools are still waiting for state and local government approval before their full procedures release to the public, there are major similarities—the most glaring being an entirely hybrid or online environment.

Most colleges are offering students the opportunity to choose between returning to campus under a hybrid environment, meaning the classes would be hosted both online and in-person or taking classes entirely online and setting-up live streaming equipment in each classroom. The specific operations of a hybrid class are likely to be adjusted several times before being perfected and finalized. Additionally, each school and department will likely have its own unique hybrid setup to best match the school’s unique needs. While classes are the primary concern of many students, campus life is also a massive concern. At my school, all clubs, organizations, and events are virtual, and residence hall visitation is mostly eliminated. Professors also have the choice to make their courses entirely online, which many of my professors opted for.

College will certainly look different this fall. However, despite the many COVID-related restrictions, there will be many opportunities for students to grow, learn, and make the most out of their college experience. While in-person events may be suspended and limited, online extracurriculars are a great temporary substitute.

Over my summer break, I’ve registered for several online workshops and seminars, both provided by my school and outside organizations. My school’s career development center has not only been doing virtual Alumni chats but also moved all of their services online, which allows for maximum flexibility in scheduling. As for outside organizations, the educational possibilities are endless. Some of the events I’ve attended have been designed specifically for students, others have been designed for industry professionals and students alike, and all have been hosted by highly knowledgeable industry leaders. I’ve learned so many helpful tips and been able to connect with many other talented individuals and industry professionals, all of whom I continue to learn from. 

While most of the semester will be virtual and internet-based, there is still so much to learn and do. It certainly isn’t ideal, but there are so many new opportunities that can arise from this new environment. For example, one of my professors plans to bring in more guest speakers and working professionals now that they’re only a Zoom call away. It will take some adjusting, but it’s very possible that we can all create something beautiful out of this darkness.