UConn students reflect on finishing their semester online

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Students walking along Fairfield Way on campus. After Thanksgiving break, UConn will be transitioning into a strictly online format for the remainder of the Fall 2020 semester. (Photo by Avery Bikerman/The Daily Campus)

University of Connecticut students say they are facing a range of feelings, from stress to relief, as they prepare to go home for Thanksgiving break and continue the rest of their semester online.  

Kenzie Fiorillo, a fifth-semester nursing major, is currently learning remotely from home and feels that online learning provides both benefits and challenges this semester. Although Fiorillo believes final exams will be more challenging, she is trying to maintain a positive attitude during these stressful times.  

“Being a UConn student from home has been a bittersweet experience so far for this unusual fall semester, but approaching finals season has definitely been more bitter and not so much sweet,” Fiorillo said. “Balancing a full course load during finals season at school is challenging enough.”  

Fiorillo said she believes a good learning environment is important for studying for exams, which presents a great challenge to many learning from home. Fiorillo recommends that students who feel this way should try to acquire a learning space that separates them from distractions so they can focus on finals.  

“At home, throw in depleting motivation, the absence of a quiet place to study and some chronic back pain from doubling a bed as a desk. Then mix in a family who refuses to accept the concept that classes and work actually occupy the majority of a normal college day,” Fiorillo said. “You’ll have the not-so-perfect recipe for finals at home. Finals à la mode if you will! I recommend you find a separate environment to study if you can.”  

Caylie Poola, a fifth-semester journalism and communication major, said she is feeling hopeful that professors will be more lenient with grading exams by taking into consideration that students are going through a stressful time.  

“I am not feeling as anxious as normal years,” Poola said. “I think that professors are going to be extremely understanding and helpful as we all adjust to this new normal for taking exams so I am not worried about my grade being negatively impacted due to online learning.” 

Poola is relieved that after a stressful semester of learning, she will have the opportunity to continue studying for these exams at home in what she believes to be a better environment to get herself organized.  

“Being online also gives me more flexibility,” Poola says. “I can study for exams in a more organized way!”  

Danny Petrosoric, a fifth-semester special education major, said he feels as though, so far, online classes have been filled with both advantages and disadvantages. Petrosoric said the lack of in-person communication has made it difficult to properly prepare for final exams.  

“My experience with online classes has had its ups and downs,” Petrosoric said. “For me, I found it difficult not to meet with my professors face-to-face and make connections.”  

I feel that finals being online is a double-edged sword in a way. – JUliana berkowitz

Petrosoric stays optimistic during these stressful times, as he believes that the challenges he continues to face during this semester are contributing to his growth as a student as he adjusts to the new normal.  

“The online style of learning definitely made college more complex,” Petrosoric said. “At the same time, it has also presented a challenge that I have been able to overcome so far.”  

Juliana Berkowitz, fifth-semester communication and psychology major, said she is feeling both stressed and relieved that final exams are online this semester. Berkowitz feels like a weight has been lifted off her shoulders, assuming that professors will be more understanding of students’ circumstances this year. Berkowitz believes being home will take the pressure off of exams.  

“I feel that finals being online is a double-edged sword in a way. On one hand, some professors are more lenient with grading,” Berkowitz said. “There is also less pressure when you get to take [them] in the comfort of your own home.”  

While Berkowitz does feel relieved, there is still stress associated with the methods of online test-taking that some professors have chosen to use for final exams. 

“I feel that as students we are at a disadvantage to begin with in regards to the transition to online learning,” Berkowitz said. “Finals being online, and especially with the pressure of a camera watching us on LockDown Browser, seems a little unfair.” 

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