Students walk to their classes on campus Trevor Speetzen | Lariat
Saddleback College classes are on once again in-person
Saddleback college opened its doors for in-person classes on Feb. 23rd, this was anticipated after the semester began over a month ago on Jan. 18. Students were originally supposed to have in-person classes when the semester began, but the Omicron variant of COVID-19 delayed this return.
As the Omicron variant swept through Orange County, officials from the South Orange County Community College District felt it was necessary to delay in-person classes in order to prevent students from being exposed to anyone with COVID-19. The return was delayed to Feb. 7, then Feb. 23 before students were finally able to return.
Many students were excited to be back on campus and were happy that they no longer had to attend any Zoom classes. Students felt more motivated to learn when in-person and didn’t have to spend tedious hours looking at pre-recorded lectures.
“With my major specifically, it’s all about playing with people,” music major Sam Smith said. “It’s definitely impacted the performance aspect, but like motivation wise, increased risk of mental health and ADHD as well trying to sit there and look at a lecture forever, it sucks.”
Being isolated and not connecting with people, especially for music majors, has hurt their performance in school and has decreased their eagerness to learn. Some students felt their mental health was getting worse and that they weren’t getting the full college experience of meeting new people. Students felt the social aspect of school was being hindered by Zoom meetings.
“It hindered it quite a bit,” psychology major Renee Lee said. “Felt pretty isolated doing online classes.”
Part of going to college is meeting new people and engaging in new experiences. A few students felt they were being cheated out of this and found it difficult to talk to other students through virtual learning. Breakout rooms in Zoom meetings don’t do any justice in comparison to meeting people face-to-face.
“You don’t really get to talk to people, breakout rooms are awkward,” Smith said. “It’s a lot better being face-to-face.”
However, not every student was ecstatic about being back on campus. A few students claimed that they feel no difference in their motivation to learn and that most of their important classes were online anyways.
“I don’t think it affected anything for me,” STEM major Armita Sobhi said. “Because I kind of stayed the same amount of motivated because like I’ve always been into school so personally I don’t feel like it did anything.”
Even though many students were excited to be back in-person, some students felt indifferent about face-to-face learning. Certain students say their motivation to learn online is no different when compared to learning in-person. However, most students agreed that they had difficulty meeting new people.
“I actually think it did hinder a lot,” Sobhi said when asked about the social aspect of school. “Because I did meet new people, but I wouldn’t say I felt satisfied. It didn’t hit me that I’m meeting new people until I got back on campus.”
Whether it affected their ability to learn ornot, students did feel some sort of reassurance from being back on campus learning. Whether it’s in the classroom or in the courtyard, some students have a newfound sense of relief now that they’re walking around campus again.