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Opinion – Longwood optimistic

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Longwood University altered how students navigate their classes in a short amount of time. Now, with vaccinations being required, Longwood seems geared toward a newer, better learning environment for this upcoming school year.

Victoria Thompson

While circumstances were beyond anyone’s control, the online format was not what many students, myself included, would call an ideal. During my junior year at Longwood, class options were split into three options: fully online, fully in-person or a hybrid combination of both.

Having more online classes took its toll in multiple ways. Between the lack of social interaction and increased time spent isolated with technology, last year felt mentally draining on a different level that stretches beyond typical college burnout.

At the time, people were unsure how long the world would carry on that way, which affected my mental state more than I probably realized. Since possibilities for socializing on campus were limited, many students also found the pandemic taking a toll on their mental health and social life.

Most of my classes were fully online with one or two exceptions, and while I eventually adjusted to this new format, being inside the classroom is a far more preferable way to learn.

No matter what, Longwood has always put in effort to manage COVID-19 guidelines, even if people were divided on how matters were handled at times. In fact, the university updates students on policy changes often via email.

At the moment, Longwood students, faculty and staff are required to wear masks indoors in public spaces on campus, including classrooms.

Even though I could never quite describe attending college during the pandemic as normal, I believe this school year promises signs of returning to a more familiar, interactive world.

Overall, there appears to be more of a lifted spirit throughout the campus community with social interactions being less restricted. So far, the ability to make casual conversation with my fellow Lancers for a few minutes before and after classes feels like a luxury I took for granted before.

When compared to previous generations, I am a part of a generation that gained access to new technology like cell phones and computers at a younger age. I also doubt that our dependency on technology will change.

After all, if the delta variant happens to spread through Longwood, the online option will forever play its part in how the school’s educational system functions. However, I have a sense of self-awareness when it comes to how much time I spend on my phone every day.

Now, when I walk past each brick building on campus, I keep my phone in my pocket a little more often so I can take in the view and open up the possibility of greeting familiar faces that cross paths with mine.

At Longwood, the spirit that Lancers share unites everyone, and the pandemic seemed to keep us divided for a little while. While returning to a pre-pandemic world seems impossible, this school year rings with hope that the world is changing just a little bit for the better.

Compared to last year, Longwood appears to be headed in the right direction in terms of improved learning environments and socialization, although we still have ways to go before reaching normalcy.

VICTORIA THOMPSON is a intern for The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. She is a senior at Longwood University. She can be reached at Editor@FarmvilleHerald.com.