Sophomore biochemistry major Christina Lewellyn used to wake up at 8:25, hop out of bed and commute to her desk to log into her 8:30 Zoom classes.
Now she gets up at 7:15 to shower before the four other girls in her corridor with 8:30 classes. After that, she treks to her in-person classes.
After a year and a half of being at home and online, Miami University students have finally returned to a schedule of mostly in-person classes.
“It was odd,” Lewellyn said. “As an introvert, I was very socially drained. For example, my heart flatlined when I had to do an introduction in Chinese, and I just saw people turning around to listen to my introduction — I had to pause and be like, ‘Why am I here?’”
Lewellyn said there was a social benefit in attending in-person classes, though.
“I’m definitely less of a homebody now — in terms of social isolation, I didn't realize how little friends I had on campus,” she said. “People [who are in-person] can’t ignore you when you try to talk to them now; I’ve gotten to know people in classes, and I’ve made friends. I’m also more hyped to do in-person events with people now.”
In-person classes have also resolved some learning challenges that came with online school.
Steven Chiacchira is a sophomore majoring in chemistry and computer science. He said it was hard to focus and learn while on Zoom.
“If I’m doing something explicitly meant to hold my entertainment, I’ll pay attention, but when someone is lecturing, they don’t have the draw of a video game,” Chiacchira said. “Learning [online] was a lot more difficult. Especially labs — I feel like I learned nothing about actual lab protocol last year due to the online format.”
Still, he does encounter some problems with in-person classes.
“Last year, I really just lived in my dorm,” Chiacchira said. “Now I have to block out time for going places, and I have to actually navigate, which is difficult. Now I need to know where all the halls are and stuff.”
Chiacchira isn’t the only one who has dealt with an adjustment to the physical nature of in-person classes.
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Maddie McMillen is a senior mathematics and statistics major at Miami. While she’s glad to be back in person, it has been challenging making the adjustment to being a student beyond her laptop screen.
“Now, we have to get dressed in real clothes again, and we have to wake up more than two minutes before classes start,” McMillen said. “You actually have to wake up and get into a normal adult-ish routine of going to school and walking to classes.”
Junior accounting major Stevie Walczy misses the extra sleep that having Zoom classes allowed for.
“I wasn’t against Zoom classes purely because I like being able to roll out of bed and get online,” Walczy said. “I definitely feel a lot more exhausted in class — while I’m not on my phone or anything like I would be in some Zoom classes, staying stationary for so long makes it very difficult to stay awake in class.”
Senior business economics major Lindsay Onest said some of her in-person classes could have remained online this semester.
“It feels strange that we’re back to normal when I feel like some classes should’ve been online, especially the really big ones,” Onest said. “Sometimes I’m standing in class and I’m like, ‘This could easily be online.’ I was really excited to go back to in-person learning, but honestly I don’t think it makes much of a difference, except for a few discussion-based classes I’m taking.”
While the classroom experience differs between students, they are adjusting to the experience one class at a time.