Students say they’re happy to be back


D'Angelo Williams

Second-year transfer study students Alejo Sigba and Alex Barnett return in-person for the upcoming semester.

D'Angelo Williams, Reporter

AACC students who returned to school last week said they are happy to be back on campus but are worried about catching COVID-19.

Most said they prefer to take classes in person and have enjoyed meeting their classmates and teachers, some for the first time in two years.

“It’s very calm here,” Charles Lovell, a first-year computer science student, said. “I quite like the atmosphere and the environment of working on a campus. It’s a bit more pleasant. And it’s less distractions compared to working at home.”

Campus closed in March 2020 because of the pandemic. Since then, it reopened in fall 2020 with all online classes except a few sections in nursing, health science, culinary and studio arts, which were  on campus.

In fall 2021 the college held 16% of classes in-person and 12% in the hybrid format, which means students met on campus occasionally but studied mostly online. The rest of the courses were online last semester.

“I do like the experience to come on campus and socialize with all the students,” Raquel Kromer, a physical therapy student, said. “And you know, meet new people. I like it but also I do like to feel the comfort of being in a home and taking classes online.”

Charles Lovell, a first-year computer science student, agreed and said he is eager to join some student clubs.

“I’m excited for the next fall semester when they have the game design or developer club back open up again,” Lovell said. “I’m quite keen to join that as that’s my career plan [to] work for either myself or a big Triple-A studio working on games.”

Still, he said, the campus feels a bit empty, even though approximately 43% of class sections are in person this semester.

“On one hand … I think it might be a bit nicer if there were more people around campus … more friendly faces around,” Lovell said, but added, “I’m completely fine with restricted capacity for campus as long as it keeps more people healthy.”

Some students said they learn better when they come to campus.

“I think just being online or on campus is just better for studying and I … feel it’s better [for my education],” Brady Cook, a first-year general education student, said. He also said he had no worries about COVID-19.

Ari Rose, a second-year nursing student, agreed.

“I’m excited to be back on campus,” Rose said. “I don’t really like virtual learning so it’s better to be in person and see people face to face.”

Some professors said they prefer interacting with their students face-to-face.

“I don’t have a problem with being off-campus and teaching classes [virtually], but I thrive on interaction with my students,” English professor Darius Cureton said. “I enjoy seeing the light bulb go off when they understand certain concepts/course content and I love when they interact with me, even by laughing with me about their weekends or to discuss questions they have about an assignment.”

Still, some students said being on campus after several semesters at home has been an adjustment.

“It was difficult for me to come back,” Kromer said. “But because you get used to being  at home and, you know, just relaxing at home …  it was a little bit difficult … getting up early and coming back and all the things in traffic and driving, but that means this is college life, right?”

Kromer also said she worries about catching COVID-19 from someone on campus.

“I guess everybody has COVID worries, but I think we cannot live in fear,” Kromer said. “Just try to be safe and just wear your mask … wash your hands. …  Just, just be careful.”