The Pandemic Year in Review: Students Voices and Perspectives

students walk through Talley Student Center

Trevor Marbut, a senior planning to graduate in the spring of 2021, is a student here at NC State studying communication with a concentration in public relations. Like all of us, Trevor has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak that has touched every aspect of life and changed our learning experience drastically. I was able to talk with Trevor about these changes and how this pandemic changed his college experience forever.

Firstly, I asked Trevor about the differences between online classes and our previous in-person classes. Trevor quickly mentioned that he had no idea he would even miss in-person class sessions. Like many of us, we had no idea that back in March we may not go to campus for classes again.

“Back in the Spring, my classes changed drastically, especially at first,” Trevor said. “The adjustment period was a bit strange, but after the first couple of weeks the online formatting started to work a lot better as people got used to it.”

Trevor went on to mention that he and his friends were intrigued by the rumors going around campus right before spring break, that we may have a longer break or not even come back to campus at all. Once news broke that we were having an extra week off, Trevor mentioned he was just as excited as anyone else cause he figured once everyone went back, life would return to normal for in-person classes.

“When we went on a nation-wide lockdown was when I really realized that COVID was here to stay, which was disappointing, but some good things have happened since COVID hit,” Trevor said. “I spent a lot more time exercising last spring, and I also got to spend a ton of time with my family which was great. Since being in college, I have lived at least five hours away from home, so it was great to go home and spend a couple of months straight with my family.”

I then wanted to ask Trevor about his classes this semester and how he felt the university handled the entire pandemic and having classes again even if they were online. He mentioned that his classes all adjusted very differently and that some methods were better than others. He talked about how some of his classes would just have recorded lectures posted onto their Moodle pages along with weekly assignments, while some other professors would require students to join scheduled Zoom meetings and ask students to actively participate with their cameras on and audio unmuted. He also mentioned that with extended time over the Summer to prepare and get familiar with online classes, NC State did a much better job in the Fall with classes and they went a lot smoother.

Shifting focus, I asked Trevor how he has been doing during these unprecedented times and wanted to know what he has been doing to keep himself healthy, mentally, and physically. Trevor mentioned that he has picked up golf during this pandemic.

“I grew up playing basketball and soccer, both of which I played in college so even though I grew up on Hilton Head Island, which is a great place to golf, I never really picked it up,” Trevor said.

“My dad has always been really into it, and it was one of the only sports I could consistently play during the pandemic because golf courses were never required to close. So, over the past five to six months, I have been trying to either golf or go to the driving range to practice at least three times a week, and I have really found enjoyment in playing.”

Trevor continually emphasized that these are trying times, and that they are affecting people in many ways. Even with the hardship of completely changing the way he has been learning, Trevor has been looking on the bright side of things. He has been grateful for the time with his family and used his extra time to really think about what he wants to do, whether that is applying for jobs or considering graduate school.

“I think COVID has been an incredibly tough time for everybody but I think you can always find positives even in situations like this.”

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