It’s my free time & I want to use it now

By Kourtney David | Copy Editor

Being back on campus full time, there’s a new kind of energy that looms over students’ heads. We’re buzzing around campus, just happy to be done with the mind-numbing torture our professors call Zoom class. However, our excitement and newfound pep can’t shake one thing: We’re tired, and we’re stretched thin.

Was waking up and going to class prepared every day really this challenging before the pandemic? Or did we just get lazier? I don’t think students are the problem; the problem is all the extra programs that snuck in during the pandemic that wasn’t possible before. We lost our free time.

Before COVID-19 struck, my professors weren’t using Zoom, Kaltura or LockDown Browser to supplement lectures and exams outside of class. Half of them barely knew how to work their own Canvas page. We took quizzes with a pencil on a scantron, and the time teachers had in class was the time they were guaranteed to take up out of your day (barring textbook reading and the usual homework) — you know, normal stuff.

While we weren’t able to be physically present, online programs made a lot of sense. The problem now is everyone is trained to use these extra tools and they’ve become standard to use daily, but students are now also carrying the burden of regular college life on top of that. Instead of handing a quiz out at the beginning of class, I have to find a quiet place where I can be alone to take a 10-point quiz on my own time before the start of class — and don’t get me started on the extra five minutes it’s going to take me just to log in to LockDown Browser.

It doesn’t seem realistic to expect students to read their textbooks and come prepared to class with notes or questions — what we were used to pre-pandemic — while also expecting them to watch your extra lecture, fill out discussion boards, complete homework, take quizzes or do whatever else you used to supplement real class time during online schooling. I don’t sit at home and stare at my laptop all day anymore.

When I’m already using my time outside of class to study and be prepared for the class, I think it’s appropriate to ask for our exams and quizzes to be given during their allotted time — maybe even leave me some time to eat and take a shower in the evening.

If we want to get back to normalcy and act like the pandemic is over, we also have to take into account the parts of life we didn’t think about when we wanted it all back. I think somewhere down the line, we got used to the idea that people are available all the time because even if we can’t be physically together, there’s really no excuse for your absence with all this technology.

Don’t get me wrong, the tools were huge advances that saved some of our educational experience when in-person learning wasn’t possible. We’ve been introduced to online office hours and experienced the joy of taking an off-guard picture of your bestie’s Zoom window. However, now that in-person classes are available and in full swing, it’s time to focus on the time we have while physically meeting and use it wisely.

If you weren’t handing out an extra three hours of MindTap homework or a pre-class quiz before COVID-19 hit, you shouldn’t be doing it now.