Students adapt as campus landscapes continue to changeOct 21, 2020 12:57PM ● By Katy Whittingham
A sign at Taylorsville Salt Lake Community College campus reminding and thanking students for keeping the community safe. (Katy Whittingham/City Journals)
By Katy Whittingham | [email protected]
Many seniors at high schools dream of the day they go off to college and finally have that taste of freedom they have been craving. However, with rising tuition costs, parental and other expectations for success, and now all the restrictions and changes because of COVID-19, incoming and returning college students may feel more pressure and obligations than ever before.
Due to the nature of these pressures and ongoing challenges, the student interviewees’ full names have been withheld in this article.
Matt C., a returning student to a local Salt Lake City college said, “I lost my summer internship opportunity at the end of last year because of COVID, and I started to work at a job not related to my major. I really considered not returning this fall because it was nice having money, but I wanted to at least give it a try, and my parents definitely want me to finish my degree, so far it’s been smoother than last term.”
Jennifer S. of Millcreek, graduated from a Granite School District school a few years ago. Having no parental or other financial support, she didn’t have a choice to delay her college dreams, but the 2020-2021 year was supposed to be her new start. Her younger sister was also planning to attend the same out of state college, and sharing textbooks, living, and other costs was going to be a “win-win,” Jennifer said.
Late into the spring, Jennifer expressed concerns to her sister and aunt about their plans. “Since I already waited, and our living situation in the move fell through in June, it made sense to wait this year out, but my sister was more disappointed since she hadn’t had the time in between high school and college that I had and her senior year of high school was affected, too. I just felt like it would be a really weird year to start.”
After months of online learning, Salt Lake Community College welcomed students back to campus for a new school year on Aug. 25. Understanding the complications of students’ individual situations because of the pandemic, SLCC has created a variety of learning options including in-person and fully online classes.
The return to campus plan is available on the school’s website. The college’s president, Deneece G. Huftalin said she was looking forward to a great fall semester but asked students and other members of the community to help ensure it is safe by following guidelines.
“Classes and other college activities are ultimately dependent on the guidelines from public health authorities regarding COVID-19,” she stated in her welcome back letter. She let students know their abilities to adapt may be tested this year and that they all “share in the responsibility of keeping our community safe.”
“We are asking everyone to step up to ensure that fall semester can proceed without interruption or illness,” she said.
While college students across the country continue to adapt and many colleges struggle with maintaining restrictions to keep students safe while still providing a valuable educational experience, it seems patience, perseverance, and positivity are key.
Arielle R., originally from Kanab, a returning junior student, expressed some positives as “more flexibility with schedules because of online options, an ability to connect to more students even commuters since so much is on online now, even clubs and other social stuff, and more understanding that everyone is going through the same thing, so it feels like professors and everyone are more willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.”
For more information about SLCC and their return to campus plan, please visit slcc.edu