My newfound online optimism

To say I once disliked online classes would be an understatement.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer extended the stay out home order multiple times, and  the college inevitably made the decision in May to switch to online courses this fall.

This change was necessary in light of what was going on around us, but I yearned to continue the on-campus engagement with professor and classmates.

When I was forced to continue online the classes I had originally registered to take on-campus, it seemed to add fuel to the frustration I was facing from the pandemic.

Everything was uncertain, and getting switched to the midnight shift during quarantine at my job solidified the limbo I felt I was trapped in up until the start of the summer.

Once the winter semester completed, I had high hopes that the case numbers would drop, and the fall semester would get us back on the normal track.

Now we know, that wasn’t the case.

With cases on the rise throughout the last couple months, the college made the decision to go online fairly early compared to others in the area.

I fully understand why this was the case after talking with staff this summer.

Ryan Rafko, director of Admissions and Guidance Services, explained how the decision was made when it was to give professors time to prepare for the new format as well as to give students accurate expectations for the  semester to come.

Seeing individuals attending other colleges that waited to make this decision, only for them to just find out in the last couple weeks about their first classes being switched makes me relieved MCCC made the decision when they did.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t discouraged when the announcement was made. Yet since then, I’ve had a number of factors to help me in this change.

One resource that greatly helped in these endeavors was the funding I recently received from the CARES Act.

After receiving an email at the end of winter semester about applying, I didn’t give it much thought until a coworker of mine asked me in June if I had applied.

She began telling me about the reimbursement she had received, and I applied within a few days.

To my excitement, I was granted plenty of money to help aid me in my need for a new laptop and software services for my planned design classes for this semester.

Thanks to the CARES Act and the financial aid office, I was able to get a computer that runs the programs I need with ease.

Had classes still been face-to-face, I would have simply used the computers available to students on campus, knowing my 8 year-old laptop couldn’t handle the software I needed for classes.

Now I have the tech necessary at my disposal, with sleep being the only limitation I have to use it to its fullest potential.

I will miss the classroom dynamic until in-person classes return, though I am grateful to have a campus with professors who are easy to reach and willing to help students any way they can.

With the online classes, I can do classwork and study practically anywhere. With this in mind, I plan to frequent coffee shops multiple times throughout the week.

Scouting to find my favorite coffee shop in the area is well under way.

Agua Dulce, located in Downtown Monroe on West Front Street, will most likely be my go-to cafe of choice.

Its modern yet relaxing vibe, coupled with the 60s and 70s background music, make for a perfect venue to focus on schoolwork in a comfortable setting.

Even having most classes online, there will still be areas I can benefit from on campus.

The newly renovated Founders Hall, along with the campus library, are two areas that I am greatly excited to visit this fall semester.

It’s incredible to see the work that’s been done on the founders hall project.

Areas like the library showcase how well campus faculty has done in adjusting the campus to fit social distancing guidelines, providing a safe yet still comfortable experience.

All these factors in mind, I find myself very optimistic, looking forward to what this Fall 2020 semester has to offer.

Though it’s an unprecedented time for us all, there is  still good to come from this time we are facing.

With the preparations MCCC has taken and the work that’s been put into these online courses, I believe the months to come will be nothing short of great for both students and staff alike.

I originally looked at online classes with repulsion to supply my academic wants and needs.

Learning what new ways I can take my classes and resources that I will have now gives me an optimistic look at the possibilities in store this semester.