OU students comment on COVID-19 college experience

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Sophie Hume

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered the college experience for many. What did OU students have to say about the experience?

Joe Zerilli, Senior Reporter

Students at Oakland University, no matter their major or year, generally feel the same way about attending college during the pandemic: pretty bad.

COVID-19 has proved a challenge to many universities, OU being no exception. Four OU students share their experiences and how they feel OU has handled the pandemic.

Ryan Shiemke, junior, Marketing

How was your learning experience during the past year with COVID-19?

Last fall was pretty bad, I was expecting my classes to be all in-person and they ended up being all online. This year it’s not too bad — the professors’ overreliance on what they did for online classes makes the in-person experience worse.

Do you feel safe in your face-to-face classes?

Depends on the professor’s mask restrictions, but with masks and knowing most students are vaccinated, I feel safe. 

Do you think OU has handled COVID-19 effectively?

I think they are doing a good job enforcing masks. Communicating the case numbers, vaccination numbers and positive cases they have done poorly. It took four days before I found out I was in close contact. It was unwise to tie the vaccination status to the honor code.

Liv Kunkle, junior, Theatre Design and Technology

How was your learning experience during the past year with COVID-19?

Pretty bad, I felt like I wasn’t getting a good education because all of the hands-on learning was gone. Because I was separated from my peers, I wasn’t getting the opportunity to collaborate and work on stuff in a team. Everybody was in a bad mood and suffering, which made the learning environment suffer.

Do you prefer in-person classes or online and why?

In-person classes because I feel they are more stimulating and keep me engaged. I feel less connected to the material in an online class.

Do you think OU has handled COVID-19 effectively?

I don’t know if there really was or is a way to handle COVID-19 effectively. I think they handled some things far better than other universities — tuition reimbursement, mask mandates — but others they really failed at — communication, enforcing vaccination mandates, student support.

Kai Gatt, sophomore, Anthropology

How was your learning experience during the past year with COVID-19?

Last year, I enjoyed my time here at OU during COVID-19. Although my learning experience was different from previous years, I still had a good year.

Do you prefer in-person classes or online and why?

I prefer online classes while staying on campus. [I like] being able to go at my pace or taking the time that I need to do any work.

Do you think OU has handled COVID-19 effectively?

I believe that OU has handled COVID-19 efficiently. I do believe that now that everyone is now vaccinated, people should have the choice to wear a mask.

Myth Parks, junior, Creative Writing

How was your learning experience during the past year with COVID-19?

My learning experience with COVID-19 was rough. Over video calls we could never get into a good flow of conversation for classes. COVID-19 also disrupted my study habits and time management. My teachers were accommodating as much as possible, but it was hard to keep up with online classes.

Do you prefer in-person classes or online and why?

In-person classes. I feel like I get better collaboration with my teachers and peers face-to-face.

Do you think OU has handled COVID-19 effectively?

I think OU did a good job at handling COVID-19. I liked their enforcement of mask mandates and social distancing, however I wish the school had allowed more support with the switch to online. Labs like art and science were very lacking online but the same amount of work and price. 

For more information about what OU is doing in response to COVID-19, click here.