From Where We Are

Online Fall semester influences students' future course plans

For many students, this Fall was a lesson in what not to do for the upcoming semester.

Taking classes remotely means more screen time, long hours at your desk, and less healthy interaction with friends and professors. As we think about what classes we want to take next semester, Mari Young tells us how students are making different choices having learned tough lessons this semester.


Class registration for the Spring is just 5 days away. In anticipation of another semester on Zoom, students are getting creative as they pick their class lineups. Franchesca Baratta is getting ready to sign up for classes as she approaches her last semester as a journalism major.

“I kind of arranged my schedule so second semester I have only one or two a day like I’m doing this semester. So not 10 hours… not really easy, challenges are inevitable but make it not so dreadful...”

School is not meant to be dreadful. Graduate journalism student Chiara Nonni says she’s also planning her semester with more awareness about Zoom fatigue and stress management.

"For me, I just don’t want to make the same mistake that I made this semester by packing in too much into such a condensed period that I feel that my work is more quantity based than quality based.

I would love to have a bit more of a spread-out schedule next semester. The ideal would be, if I’m taking five classes, just have one in the morning every morning and take the rest of the day to work on the homework. ----- Now I’m able to kind of know myself enough to know that a Zoom day from nine to nine is hell on my mental health. I need to see what I can do about not being so stressed out."

Undergraduate Computer Science major Caroline Reiser, on the other hand, will take the opposite approach.

“My logic is, next semester I’ll take my like hard classes and then senior year will be lighter and hopefully will be in person so then I can enjoy it more than having to take my easy classes next semester because Zoom fatigue or whatever and then have a shi**y time senior year because I’m taking my hard classes. So it’s probably different than what other people think, but Zoom is hard enough already so I might as well just make it worse.”

We talked to one student who she was going to register for Philanthropy.. Not because she’s interested in Philanthropy. She is not... at all. But, there is a chance that this class might meet -- in person! And that’s good enough for her.

Like all of us, she’s doing the best she can to make it through these crazy times, stay sane, and graduate.