Stressors of Another Pandemic Semester
Spring 2021 is the second COVID-19 semester at the Mount and there have been some ongoing difficulties dealing with midterms amid the pandemic. Classes are still hybrid, with designated days to attend in person, but online classes have their own stressors. A student could sit down in front of their laptop for a class, and try their hardest not to be distracted, but distraction seems to be inevitable. There will always be a pop-up on the screen, the WiFi may go out or students' videos on Zoom could distract other students. It has been quite difficult learning through Zoom.
Although I am extremely grateful to be on campus this semester, as many students are, there has not been a moment to truly relax. All of our breaks have been taken away from us. We have Exploration Days, but these days are often used to catch up on work or to get ahead on work to alleviate some stress. In some cases, students even work off campus on these Exploration Days. This semester has been the most stressful yet. This stress is not only from midterms, but a conjunction of events taking place in our environment.
The stress does not stop at a semester without true breaks, but room and board costs have increased as well. I remember when I first started at the Mount and was told what I would be paying for room and board. For as long as I have attended the Mount, the cost has steadily increased. I may have thought midterms were stressful, but I have realized that midterms along with balancing two jobs is more stressful.
Generally, midterms are taken in person, but the effect of COVID-19 pushed many midterms to be online or become papers. ProctorU, the proctoring service some professors have chosen to use for exams, has been a new experience with a few nuances. Cheating has not totally stopped, as my professor had pointed out to the class. Students use sticky-notes on their laptop. This ruins it for those who have effectively studied for a long time but did not receive the A that the cheater receives.
Stress levels are very high and I do not think that they are going down anytime soon. I think that a solution to this would be a break longer than a weekend or a random Wednesday in March. Other schools have scheduled spring breaks that would greatly benefit the students at the Mount and prevent burnout.