Halfway through the Spring semester, students were sent to study from home. No one knew what would come afterwards, and everyone had to adjust to the new learning experience. Students took classes online and presented every project through a Zoom call. Teachers had to learn a new method and make sure their curriculum fit within the new digital experience. Just like that, Summer came, and everyone was “free" to enjoy the break, respecting the health guidance put in place. Although it was a time for relaxation, many remained preoccupied with what was to come during the Fall semester.
As August and September rolled over, so did the Fall semester. Some universities went back to in-person learning, while others remained one hundred percent online. It was hard to make the decision, but each institution decided what would be best for their students. One way or another, teachers were looking to bring back that sense of “normalcy" that everyone was craving. Once again, adapting their classes, their curriculums, and their expectations to the new reality we all had to live in.
Whatever the case may have been–whether through a screen or in a classroom–students went back to studying, doing presentations, and taking exams. The same feeling of uncertainty that was felt towards the end of the Spring semester, was once again present as this new semester began. No one knew if the new measures would work. Teachers were still trying to adapt. Students were still getting their feelings under control, trying to grasp everything that was happening around them. Times were still hard.
However, now both students and teachers find themselves halfway through another semester. The uncertainty, frustration, and sadness that guided them at the beginning, have dissipated with a new sense of accomplishment. Through a well-built community, they have found the way to make it through one of the hardest academic years. They evolved into a new learning system, overcame many obstacles, and continued to make it through every class.
As a former student, I admire their strength and resilience; the way in which they kept working so hard. Every teacher made an enormous effort to keep their curriculum up to date and to be a support system for their students. Every student gave their best in every class to continue learning as normally as possible, to continue furthering their studies. In an unprecedented situation, these two groups of people were the ones who never stopped what they were doing. They continued to give their energy and dedication to make each semester a “normal" one.
This Fall semester is halfway done and once it is over, it should be celebrated. No matter how you did, you should celebrate you made it through. We do not know what the 2021 academic year will bring or how classes will be. So, by the end of the 2020 academic year, everyone should be celebrating the effort and dedication they put into their classes. When the Winter break rolls over, disconnect from your classes and connect with those around you to be grateful for the way you made it through one of the hardest years.
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