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Thoughts on Another Semester Online


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With one remote learning semester under our wing, many college parents are feeling torn between hope and relief (hooray, the year is almost over!) and dread.

If you’re still grappling with the fact that the pandemic won't be just a 2020 occurrence, you’re not alone. We all have to come to terms with the coronavirus way of life bleeding into our 2021 experiences as well.

Fall semester was a scramble as students, faculty and families did their best to adapt to an always-changing situation with little to no information about when life would return to normal. The uncertainty made a difficult time even more grueling.

This pandemic has affected everyone, but we've been especially sympathetic to high school seniors and college students being robbed of some of life’s biggest growing moments: their graduations, senior years, college experiences.

What's around the corner?

Bring It On, 2021

The start of 2021 will bring new challenges as colleges and universities continue to make significant changes to their teaching models. Campus life, if it's available to students at all, will remain limited.

My son will return to school with some classes in person and some online. My daughter is on the quarter system, and she knows the winter quarter will be online and she's not thrilled about it, but is looking forward to student teaching in person for her final quarter in spring. – Member of College Parent Insiders, CollegiateParent’s private Facebook group

[My daughter’s] school has some in person and some online, but they can take the online classes at an assigned study room at the university, also they can use the library and other resources located there... My son, who is a freshman, really likes the online format for his classes and other learning resources. Because he is a member of a varsity team he lives in campus so he can attend practices. Both miss the experience of socializing without restrictions with their classmates and enjoying activities such as homecomings and games. – College Parent Insiders member

And yet, as we gear up for the start of a new semester, there's hope that the adjustment to remote learning might be a little easier this time around. Even if many students aren't happy about it, they're making the best out of a bad situation just as we hoped they would.

It bears repeating how much we appreciate the resilience and adaptability our college students have shown. They've toughed it out and we could not be more proud of what they’ve accomplished this year.

Looking to the Future

As colleges nationwide plan out the rest of the school year, some have decided not to wait to make a decision about commencement. The University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, has already announced that the Class of 2021 graduation will be held virtually

It’s painful to think that, in addition to forgoing the normality of their senior year, there’s a chance yet another graduating class will be denied commencement ceremonies. Students are bracing themselves for the worst.

My son, a senior, just finished his last final today. He’ll be headed back to his near-campus apartment in January to start another all online semester. He’s resigned to the fact that there will probably be no in-person classes for the rest of the academic year, but we’ll see how things go. Sad to think there probably won’t be a normal graduation in May. Strange way to finish college but he’s rolling with it all. – College Parent Insiders member

Even as our hearts ache for their disappointment, we marvel at our students' optimism and fortitude.

And as 2020 draws to a close, we can all take away an important lesson from them: the world will test us in ways we can't always prepare for, but when we try to make the best out of our situations we will come out the other side much stronger for it.

Our students didn't ask to come of age during a pandemic, but they're making history nevertheless. Needless to say, we're not betting against their perseverance and look forward to seeing the incredible things they will, inevitably, go on to accomplish.

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