Students struggle to meet deadlines with online classes

Madison Toft
Contributor Writer
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Expectations continue to be different with online classes and professors in the sciences can be less forgiving, according to Rose Ruegg, an environmental ecology student at UNC Asheville. 
“With scheduling classes, especially now that things are online, it’s been really difficult to find classes that aren’t all at the same time, especially for my major,” Ruegg said. “A lot of the environmental classes are scheduled at the same period. Because they’re a bigger lecture section, there are only a few available.”
Administration condensed the spring semester following the guidelines set forth by the UNC System office, making the semester 15 weeks.
“Honestly, I’ve been pretty heavily affected by COVID-19, especially just with sleep schedules. Staying up a lot later than usual, sleeping in much later, which doesn’t really fit into the life of a student, especially when you have a lot of stuff to do,” Ruegg said. 
UNCA marked their third semester of online classes, making up 37 percent of the classes offered, 22 percent hybrid classes and 40 percent for in person, according to the updated UNC System office’s COVID-19 plan. 
“I definitely feel overwhelmed by projects quite often. I think it’s difficult because your professors aren’t in communication with each other, so they don’t know when they’re all scheduling at exactly the same time. Obviously everyone’s schedule is different, so sometimes you just end up with a really crazy workload,” Ruegg said. 
If a student reaches out to their professor before a deadline, they are understanding and can help the student out, according to Ruegg. 
“COVID-19 adds yet another layer of anxiety and stress to already stressful situations. University classes are hard and they should be — this is where we think about who we are and what our place is in the larger picture of society. It takes energy and mental work as well as the completion of requirements for a course and degree,” said Stephanie O’Brien, Ph.D, a mass communication lecturer at UNCA. 
With not only COVID-19, but feelings of isolation and anxiety, students face difficult scenarios and often find themselves overwhelmed, according to O’Brien. 
The pandemic affects faculty just as much as anyone else and they have to plan for varying scenarios for course delivery depending on the student needs, O’Brien said. 
“There is the mental stress that is affecting everyone during the pandemic. Just because we are professors does not mean we are immune to those issues as well. Everyone is facing loneliness and anxiety, which can make focusing on work or other life needs difficult,” O’Brien said. 
Faculty have to be fair to all students in terms of the policies set up for the course but that doesn’t mean faculty can’t help students who need extra help, according to O’Brien.
“Somehow I procrastinate more with COVID-19. With time management, I feel more compelled to go to my in-person classes just because I actually miss school now, normal school,” said Graham Dugliss, a mass communication student at UNCA. 
At UNCA, a good bit of my classes are digital, so I find myself pushing the subjects I’m least passionate about back, Dugliss said. 
Between 80 percent to 90 percent of college students procrastinate, according to the American Psychological Association. 
“I think the amount of work I am dealing with is about the same, I just don’t feel nearly as compelled to do it,” Dugliss said. 
Doing enjoyable things, such as art, tend to be much easier to do rather than a big research paper, Dugliss said. 
“I think school should be shut down. I don’t think that we should be masquerading a full college tuition as an actual full education. The point of it is nearly any given class that is online now is just going to be completely tuned out. You’re not getting a fulfilling education because you’re not learning from these people in person and you can’t get all the stuff you want,” Dugliss said. 
For spring semester at UNCA, students will not be refunded if all classes go online, according to the UNC System office. 
“Talk to your professors and/or mentors. Let them know ahead of time what is going on if you are falling behind or feeling really anxious and overwhelmed. We are here to help and can work with students and give advice,” O’Brien said.