September 17, 2020
Category: Student Blogs
by Miracle Etim-Andy '23
Even though this semester at Catawba looks a little different, it definitely feels the same. COVID-19 has kept a lot of college campuses from opening this semester, and some that made the decision to reopen have had to go back to virtual learning. Catawba chose to reopen our campus this fall and like every other college student, initially, I was extremely nervous about coming back. After being back for a few weeks, I feel more confident in Catawba’s ability to keep the students safe. Seeing social distancing and safety protocols around campus has been reassuring, especially since they are being enforced. Catawba is assuring us that they are trying their best, and they also remind us that we students play a huge role in making sure out campus stays open. Here is what a typical week in my life looks like with all the precautions that are in place.
I am double majoring in Exercise Science and Computer Science, so my course load is fairly heavy. This semester I am taking 6 courses and a lab. Two of my courses are hybrid, two are fully online (and asynchronous), and two are fully in person.
Each morning begins with taking the Daily COVID- 19 Screening questionnaire. Even on the days I do not have classes, I still have to fill it out. If I don’t, I usually get a message from my coach reminding me to fill it out. After getting ready, I’ll usually go grab breakfast before class. The dining hall requires everyone to wear a mask when entering. While they do have limited seating options, they also have a to-go option. I’ll grab some food and a drink and eat at one of the outside seating areas. After I finish, I’ll head to my class or somewhere quiet to study.
On Mondays, I meet with my two hybrid classes: Prescriptive Fitness and Application Program Development. For Prescriptive Fitness we use the gym if we are doing a lecture. If we are doing physical activity and the weather permits, we will have class outside. For Application Development, we use the new computer lab in Ketner. Given that the computers are already spaced as individual workstations, it is the perfect set up. My professor will have us join Blackboard Collaborate so that we can share our screen with her if we have a question about our code since she is not able to stand directly beside us. In between classes, I will grab lunch and head to my room to eat and do work.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have Linear Algebra and Anatomy and Physiology I. My Linear Algebra class is one of my more difficult courses. Since we are a small class, I have been able to create great relationships with my classmates. Given that it is a higher-level math course, a few of my classmates also tutor in the SMART Center. Between my professor’s office hours, the SMART Center, and posts in the group chat, there is rarely a time I am completely lost. Anatomy and Physiology I is one of my larger classes. Even though it is large we are still safely spread out. It takes place in the Center for the Environment where my professor was able to remove the wall dividers and spread the class across three classroom spaces. This way we are still all be in a place where we all can see but we each have our own table to work at. On Thursday afternoons I also have my lab for this class.
Wednesdays and Fridays, I do not have any classes. I usually spend these days working on my two online classes: Introduction to Databases and Health Science. I also use these days to visit my professor’s virtual office hours and ask any questions I may have. Even if I don’t have questions I still like to pop in and say “Hello.”
I spend most evenings on campus with my friends or suitemates. Sometimes we will exercise together or grab dinner and catch up. There are also occasional virtual game nights or drop- in events, where I can enjoy the amenities of my college campus while being safe.
Being back on campus has been amazing and it is nice to have something familiar with all that is going on. While safety and precaution are still high on my radar, it is nice to see familiar faces and know that Catawba is taking our safety seriously.