Ben Lambert
Ben Lambert, a junior at La Roche University near Pittsburgh, Pa. La Roche and other colleges have transitioned to online instruction.

College Students Adjust to Online Instruction

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GIBSONIA, Pa. – The spring 2020 semester started out normally for college students but will be ending in a way no student had ever imagined.

Four-weeks ago, the COVID-19 outbreak closed college campuses across the country, which meant students’ normal lifestyles changed.

“My first reaction, I was kind of shocked, to be honest with you,” La Roche University junior Ben Lambert said. “I remember actually talking with some classmates thinking like ‘what are they going to do’ when this virus gets here. It was pretty shocking.”

La Roche University is a small private school in McCandless, Pa., about 25-minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. About 1,400 students are enrolled at La Roche. The university had students studying in Rome for a semester and faced the challenge of their safe return.

LaRoche and other universities transitioned to online instruction and students have been doing their schoolwork from home for about three weeks. While some enjoy the luxury of learning in the comfort of their own homes, others have faced challenges.

The COVID-19 outbreak has forced students all around the country out of classrooms.
Students have been completing their coursework from their computers at home. Some students have faced challenges.

Students don’t get to see their friends or professors, at least in person, for the rest of the semester. They also worry about issues with technology, such as slow wi-fi connection or faulty computers.

At college, students have a schedule of classes to follow each week and can fill in the rest of their schedule with extra-curricular activities. At home, most students can create their own schedules to do work.

“You have to maintain a certain level of discipline,” Lambert said. “When you’re physically going to class, you get up at a certain time and leave at a certain time, so it’s very tempting when you’re just at home to just lay around and sleep in all day, but unfortunately, that’s not the best recipe for success. The biggest challenge for me has been maintaining that discipline.”

Despite those roadblocks, many students are adapting. Professors meet with students virtually throughout the week. Additionally, students are beginning to get used to a new learning routine at home.

“Just maintaining a schedule and meeting the strict deadlines for classes has helped a little bit,” Lambert said. “I know it’s hard to say that but maintaining some of the normalcy even though nobody’s never seen anything like this.”

Lambert said he is hopeful he will return to campus in the fall and take normal in-person classes.

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