Split on Return: Residents vs. Commuters

By Mahamadou Sumareh

Staff Writer

On-campus students and commuters are clearly divided on their thoughts about returning to normal classroom settings in the fall. 

FDU announced in March that the fall semester is expected to be in-person, but how do students really feel after a full year of Zoom learning?

One thing for certain is that some students are ecstatic about the return of in-person classes next fall. The monotonous campus life of only leaving the dorm for food has taken a toll on some resident students.

“Going in-person will allow commuter students to truly feel a part of FDU,” said Franyelli Mendoza, a freshman resident studying government and politics. “Virtual classes cannot replace the connections you form and the amount of social interaction that comes with in-person classes, which are what make up the FDU experience.” 

Mendoza also stressed that the fall semester was not a normal college experience. 

Edward Perez, a freshman resident studying biology, said that in-person classes help him “focus more on my work and become more engaged in class discussions than being online where I can be anywhere at any time and get easily distracted by anyone, anything.”

He added, “there was not much to do to replicate a normal college experience for first-year students like myself.” 

So while FDU has tried to make campus life more active through events such as Tie-Dye Day and the recent FDU Field Day, students said that those activities do not take the place of the social opportunity that in-person classes can offer.

Still, some commuter students find Zoom classes as beneficial alternatives to in-person.

“I’m not too worried about having a normal college life, I’m really just trying to get my degree,” said Danny Vasquez, a sophomore commuter studying business.

Virtual classes offered a convenient alternative for commuter students to engage with their classes and stay up-to-date on campus events while saving time and money on making the trip to campus.

 Clearly, student opinions vary.

Some find it easier to attend and pay attention in a Zoom class because they are in the comfort of their own home or dorm. 

“Being able to eat when I want to, take a break when I want to and look up something when I want to just makes the classroom … much easier,” said Mohamed Altuwaitan, a freshman campus resident studying biology.

Aurora Rikfind, a freshman studying forensic science, would prefer on-campus learning. “Online learning is hard due to all the distractions [at home], and my learning style isn’t suited for online classes,” she said. 

Without the in-person classroom dynamic, there is a communication wall between students and professors, because there is only so much you can do through video calls and emails.

While there are mixed emotions and expectations for in-person classes, students said  that a normal college experience at FDU is something to look forward to and bringing back in-person classes this fall is a great step toward achieving new goals.

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Students are nowhere to be found on-campus.

Photo by Mahamadou Sumareh