FPU’s Return to Campus

Are Students Ready to go Back to Face-to-Face Interactions?

After what seems like an eternity, FPU is finally returning to on-campus learning in the Fall of 2021. For the past year and a half, teachers and staff alike have worked tirelessly to ensure a quality education and environment in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic. It was, and continues to be, a crisis that requires many changes to how we live our everyday lives. While we appreciate the effort and time our beloved school has put into ensuring we don’t miss a beat, an overwhelming majority of FPU students are excited to return to campus.  

There is no doubt that the most effective form of communication is face-to-face. A report done by PsychMinds at the beginning of the online switch compared both face-to-face and online communication by putting the two side-by-side. They found that “face-to-face communication fosters higher quality interactions than online communication.” However, is  “that to say the virtual world has nothing to offer in terms of socializing? Absolutely not. Online communication and social media should be used as supplemental to one’s social life. It should not, however, be integral or the sole source where one socialises and interacts with others” (PsychMinds). 

Although there is no denying that cell phones and the like have brought many closer together, like families split between  different cities or countries, it seems a lot harder to utilize effectively when it comes to school. Socialization becomes a lot more passive and the likes of body language are impossible to read through a screen. Although online class was only a temporary sacrifice, students are ready to go back to a normal school setting. 

Since FPU underwent the switch in March of 2020, students haven’t been able to communicate as before. There are no more hallway conversions, AIMS hall exchanges or even small talk at our beloved coffee shop. Many first year students never even got to experience college life in their first full year here. To them, black screens and muted mics made up much of their communication with classmates. 

This raises the question: are we actually ready to go back to in-person learning and face-to-face communication, or has the online switch changed the way we interact? To better grasp how the students feel about going back to campus, the Syrinx has interviewed some in an effort to gain perspective. 

How has the shift to online learning changed the way you communicate?

Fernanda Espino, First Year, Biology: 

“I noticed that online learning changed my way of communicating by the first or second week, because I am usually an outgoing person ready to ask questions or respond to questions my teachers asked. Breakout rooms certainly did not help and made me even more nervous especially when no one answered when I spoke up, causing huge embarrassment. As the semester continued I somewhat felt it useless to speak up, until I regained my confidence with professors that I felt appreciated my opinion and students that actually cared to hear what I had to say. Now I speak out more but more in classes that I’m more confident in.” 

Roberto Lopez, Third Year, Kinesiology:

“Personally, I don’t think online learning has changed face-to-face communication, but motivated people to seek out community. Since most have been just isolated with little to no help.” 

When FPU goes back to in-person learning, do you think you’re ready to go back to face-to-face communication?

Fernanda Espino, First Year, Biology: 

“Going back to face-to-face learning will definitely be a struggle for me. Since my first year in college was remote and it is the only real college experience I have, it will make it harder for me to jump into campus I believe. It will no longer be screens that I’m going to talk to now but actual people which is great and something I am looking forward to, but I still cannot help feeling nervous, almost as though I lost my social skills. I feel it will take longer for me to adapt but in a few weeks or so I think I will be back to my outgoing self if we go back to face-to-face.”

Roberto Lopez, Third Year, Kinesiology:

“Honestly, I’m praying to go back to face-to-face! I am not having a fun experience with school being online. Just because I am not as motivated and driven to learn in school. Whereas face-to-face I know I will be with other people that I can work with and create community with again.”

We want to thank our awesome teachers and staff for working so hard to give us an education, even if it took a while to get used to. We also want to thank the students who offered their insights on going back to campus. There is no denying that we are all eager to return and try face-to-face learning again. It may take some time to get back to where we were before COVID-19, but we are sure it won’t take very long! 

Author: Julian Alcaraz

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