The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
As the semester comes to a close, we as an Editorial Board have noticed a need to reconnect with our faculty more than ever.
The prevalence of students skipping classes this semester quickly became something we couldn’t skip over.
Many students missed courses — on purpose or accidentally — far more than they have in previous years or even last semester. We partially blame it on the pandemic; after a year and a half of online class, going back to in-person instruction was nothing if not jarring.
In retrospect, excitement about returning to face-to-face classes ran at an all-time high last semester, when many had been missing the personalized instruction and social connection that in-person education provides. That lasted about a semester and a half, and in the past couple of weeks we began facing new problems.
Forcing oneself to do the more difficult thing and actually attend lectures was made more difficult in a world still recovering from a global pandemic — specifically, a world in which many immune systems are still out of whack.
One member of our Editorial Board expressed that they have missed entire days of classes this semester due to illness, and had not been that sick since their first year on campus. Staying indoors and staying masked for so long helped keep us all from contracting COVID-19, yes, but it also weakened our immune systems to other illnesses. Getting sick will make anyone want to lay in bed, eat some soup and skip class.
Of course, it was always easier to attend a class that was interactive and felt important.
When a global pandemic occurred in our late teens and early twenties, everything was put more into perspective; we have been through so much so young. Social isolation is real, and we felt alone while also going through fear, grief and exhaustion, leaving little room in our emotional and mental capacities for school.
And it’s not that we wanted it to be this way.
College students as a whole began to realize what was important to them, and sometimes, basic Miami Plan courses just didn’t make the cut. The college student mindset this semester was this: “If I can skip class and still get a good grade, why bother going?”
Knowing that the professor cared about a student, their attendance and their education helped change that. In smaller, higher-level classes in which the professor interacted with students more in a one-on-one fashion, students felt more recognized and, thus, motivated to attend and to learn. Wouldn’t you rather attend a class in which the professor knows at least your name?
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The same goes for classes that weren’t just the same style of lecturing every day. We’ve just been through a year and a half of the same day over and over — the same routine, the same schedule with nothing new.
So now we hope we can all take a break and come back to the table next year ready to finally pull ourselves out of the muddle of the pandemic — together.
Professors, we implore you to make sure your classes next semester do not reflect the monotony that we all just experienced in the pandemic. Take the summer to revamp some lesson plans that may be older and more dated; your students are desperately in need of more connection and engagement than ever before.
After discussing the upward trend of students missing class more than usual as the semester comes to a close, we as an Editorial Board realized that we are no better than the rest of campus, with a majority of our board agreeing that they skipped more now than they did at the beginning of the semester or in previous years.
We can do better; students do have to take some of the responsibility and step up. Whether it’s color-coding our notes, studying with friends or making fun Kahoots instead of regular flash cards, we need to find ways to keep ourselves engaged, too.
Let’s use this summer to rest and reset.
Next semester, professors and students alike need to create balance. We both need to build our connections with each other to continue fostering our education and experience together. Students, go to your professors’ office hours; professors, offer in-person versions instead of just regulating this time to Zoom as we did during the pandemic’s peak. More mutual efforts like this need to be implemented.
We can all give each other feedback and tell each other what’s going wrong with lessons and learning. Smaller class sizes, though a radical change, could help many students immensely to achieve a more one-on-one, interactive education environment. In the end, it’s up to all of us — students, professors, everyone — to make sure we are getting the most out of our time at Miami together.
Next semester is our fresh start.
It’s our education, after all, and if we don’t care about it, who will?