Students taking online classes from home

Michael Gorski, a sophomore computer science major, starts his first day of online classes from his kitchen table on March 23. 

Many have begun navigating a new way of life since the COVID-19 pandemic infiltrated our lives just a few short weeks ago.

For many other students and me, our lives have been turned upside down and precious time has been stolen from us. As college students begin our online classes for the first time this week, here are a few things for parents to keep in mind regarding their new stay-at-home students.

1. We are not home for break, please don’t treat it as such. As students we are still carrying a full course load and schedule whether that be classes, internships or both. Because all our work is online, for the first time we may have a mandatory Zoom video class or homework due during what would normally be family dinner time. We are not home to supervise our younger siblings or help get groceries for grandma. When making requests for your children, please be conscious and respectful of their new schedule and make sure they are truly available.

2. Realize that we are under a tremendous amount of stress. The last half of the semester is full of final projects, papers and material made to cover an entire semester's workload. Students are being asked to navigate a new online system for the first time that some of us have never used before. Not only that, but most of our lives have been uprooted; our social interactions, campus resources and living situations have been disrupted indefinitely. As a senior especially, most of us have seen our friends for the last time without knowing, are grieving the loss of spring commencement, sporting events and registered student organization activities we have been working with for the entire year. Some of us have lost the ability to say goodbye to our senior friends.

3. Help us have the resources we need to be successful. Please be respectful of our new “desk space” that’s actually the kitchen table and give us the time we need to get our work done alone. Do they have the internet/computer needed to complete their work? Have they retrieved the books, notes, etc. needed from their dorms? If not, have them reach out to their professors or check to see if their books are available for free online (since a lot of publishers are making that option available).

4. Remember we are not in high school anymore. We don’t need reminders on when assignments are due, we don’t need you to tell us to study for our next exam or that we should start writing our paper that is due next week. We have been in control of our school life for a while now, we are adults and we are fully capable of managing our workload.

5. College students have weird work and sleep schedules. Don’t find it uncommon when your child is just starting a group project at 10 p.m. and to stay up studying after. Just let them do what works for them and remind them to drink a lot of water.

6. Remind them to keep a distance from old high school or local college friends. The whole point is to social distance even if your child hasn’t seen their friend in four years. Reassure them that their social lives will return to normal in a few weeks when cases start to decline. For now, stay home and enjoy the time spent together.

Keep these things in mind over the next couple of months as the semester rolls to an end and your child adjusts to their new life. Also, stay healthy and safe and remember to keep your loved ones close.

JENNIFER HAIDEN is Photo Editor for The Vidette. She can be contacted at vidette_jrhaide@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @jen_haiden 


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