A look on campus: Students share their semester experiences

By: Meghan Hudson, Editor-in-Chief
Photos Courtesy of Towson University

Students told The Towerlight some of their experiences being online, plus a look at what on-campus activity looks like.

In late August, Towson University President Kim Schatzel announced the transition from hybrid to distance learning.

“As president of Towson University, my greatest priority and responsibility is to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” said Schatzel in a campus wide email. “So, for the remainder of this term all instruction will be remote. We will begin working with our residential students to move them out of residence halls and continue their classes remotely.”

The exceptions to this transition, which continued to allow face-to-face instruction, were research in the College of Health Professions, Fisher College of Science & Mathematics, the College of Fine Arts and Communication, and some graduate programs.

TU also offered extended housing opportunities for eligible students. 

“Student athletes in residence halls, students in select laboratory courses, experiential courses in the arts, clinical courses and internships may continue to stay in residence if they choose to do so,” TU posted online.

According to Occupational Therapy student Emily Friesner, the transition to distance learning went relatively well.

“Traditionally we do a lot of hands-on labs and fieldwork, but most of those things were adapted,” Friesner said. “I had telehealth fieldwork with children, so while it was difficult at times, it was still better to have that experience than no experience at all.”

Freisner added that she was unable to attend one of the more important labs for her major, which was held in-person.

“Unlike last year, I don’t think I missed out on learning the important skills, it’s more that I missed out on small experiences, such as going to the IWB sensory gym.

Meanwhile, Information Technology student Orlando Onofre says his major had a pretty smooth transition.

“Overall, online classes went well,” Orlando said. “Some of the obstacles were costs, such as off campus lease. Moreover, the lack of physical interaction with old and new friends was difficult.”

The lack of interaction and its impact on mental health seems to be the common factor amongst all students.

One Speech Pathology student, who requested to remain anonymous, shared their experience with mental health struggles.

“This semester I’ve dealt with the worst depression I’ve ever had,” they said. “I’ve lost a lot of people due to illnesses these past few months. Dealing with that and school has made this the semester from hell.”

For Friesner, while her original plan was to live on campus, she ended up living at home due to distance learning.

“I think the biggest personal obstacle for me was having to create boundaries between my family and I,” Friesner said. “Even though I’ve been living at home since March, there are still times when I miss the space I had on campus. Sometimes there’s this feeling of ‘because I’m home I have to spend time with my family,’ but I also have a lot to do and it’s all about finding balance.”

Provost Melanie Perreault says the University is hoping to become more interactive in the coming Spring semester.

“We’re really hopeful that we’ll have a little more of the hybrid education in the spring,” Perreault said. “So a little bit more of the face-to-face and simultaneous delivery that we had really hoped for in the fall, so using that technology that OTS spent a lot of money putting in the classrooms.”

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