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Why I won't enroll in school if Rutgers continues remote learning in fall

Universities may consider transitioning fall 2020 classes to remote learning, causing many students to reconsider if they're going to enroll.  – Photo by needpix

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has canceled in-person spring semester classes for students around the world, and students were forced to abruptly move out of their university housing and transition to online classes. 

With normalcy being so far out of sight, what's next for university classes?

Boston University is the first American university to publicly consider extending its remote learning until January 2021. It's likely that many other universities will follow suit, given that health officials could extend social distancing through 2020. 

For students who wish to return to school fall semester, there's still hope: Universities are preparing to delay their semester’s start date, switching to shorter term lengths and creating in-person classes that follow health officials’ social-distancing guidelines. 

With no guarantee of resuming normal classes in the near future, universities are expecting enrollment to plummet. 

High school seniors face difficulty choosing a university when accepted students' events and orientations have been canceled. International students worry about traveling and obtaining their visas. Others plan to transfer to community college or a cheaper online school.

I asked my friends if they would continue remote learning if it is extended through the fall semester, and I got mixed reactions, ranging from “I would not be going back to school in the fall” to “I would hate for them to be online, but I would if I had to.”

Before talk of extended online classes even arose, I decided that I would not continue university schooling if remote learning continued into the fall semester. 

I hate online school. I'm an extroverted person who loves their major and genuinely enjoys going to class. I'm so appreciative of the work my professors have done to ease our online transition, but I just cannot grasp or enjoy school when it’s completely virtual.

Each person learns differently. I'm not someone that thinks staring at my computer all day, typing responses in place of real discussions, watching virtual lectures and commenting questions and attending classes via my childhood bedroom substitutes the impact of going to college.

As a student that lived off campus, I didn't get housing or meal plan refunds because I didn’t pay the school for that in the first place. My rent is still due each month for an apartment I can no longer live in, and I'm continuing to pay, in full, for a university I feel like I don’t really attend anymore. 

Journalism and Economics, my majors, are among the easier majors to study virtually. Zoom calls, virtual lectures, chat rooms and hangouts ensure we're still getting the information we signed up to receive. It's harder to retain new knowledge when so much more is being thrown at you, only to compensate for what's missing: the classroom dynamic.

I refuse to pay for an education I don’t feel I can grasp completely, and I refuse to waste an entire semester of my college life.

I would rather wait to attend school normally than continue to attend through my laptop. As a rising junior, I'm already sad about how quickly college has gone by, and my heart breaks for seniors whose last events and commencements were canceled. This is not the college experience any of us signed up for. We didn’t have a choice this semester, but we do for the fall.

I would love nothing more than to go back to school. I signed a lease for an apartment with my friends that I don’t want to be forced to break. I miss walking to class, study dates with friends and my home away from home. If I have to wait until January to get that back, I’m okay with that.

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