The empty halls of Gist, as they will remain for the rest of the year, on Nov 3 | Photo by Dakota Cox

Students contemplate not returning for spring semester

HSU exclusively reverts back to online instruction on Nov. 9 and students aren't happy
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HSU exclusively reverts back to online instruction on Nov. 9 and students aren’t happy

As Humboldt State University transitions back to exclusively utilizing online instruction starting Nov. 9, students return home for the holiday season. Traveling students are faced with the difficult decision to return to campus for the spring semester.

Diego Celis is a cellular molecular biology major with two semesters left until graduation. Celis has off-campus housing and a kitchen job in Humboldt. He expects to return for next semester after spending the holidays with family.

“I think my biggest incentive [to come back] is definitely just to have my freedom up here,” Celis said. “I do have family back home, but I can’t move back home because I have a dog and my family is all split up, so there’s not really anywhere that I can move back to.”

Online instruction had a significant impact on Celis’ education which reflected most prominently in his grades. He felt online learning created a disconnect between lecturers, students and information retention.

“I hate it. I hate it so much,” Celis said. “It’s not immersive. It’s pretty disconnected. They’re just sending you information and your absorbing it all as best you can, kind of teaching yourself.”

Judith Escobar, a zoology major, originally decided to come to HSU because of its positive reputation regarding hands-on learning. Escobar has found online learning especially obstructive to her education and lab work.

“I can’t really learn how to work with the tools and the instruments correctly,” Escobar said. “Right now, for chemistry and biology I’m just looking at my professors doing the lab and it doesn’t really do me any justice.”

Diego Naranjo, freshman at HSU, lives in the dorms. Naranjo feels the greatest impact from online learning on the lack of social interaction with classmates.

“Online has been pretty tough,” Naranjo said. “I think socially, I kind of depend on going in class and having a different setting, so that’s been really difficult.”

Without any in-person classes this semester, Naranjo feels disappointed in the college experience currently offered by HSU.

“I kind of thought there would still be activities that are encouraged,” Naranjo said. “I just wish there was more stuff going on.”

Despite the experience falling short of Naranjo’s expectations, the times he spends mingling with like-minded learners, makes him grateful he choose to come to Humboldt.

“My head space has changed and my mentality towards school has changed a lot,” Naranjo said. “Being up here has definitely changed my perspective on a lot of stuff that I don’t think I would’ve had, had I stayed in my hometown.”

Naranjo plans to return to Humboldt in the spring, after heading home for the holidays.

“[Learning online] really taught me how valuable in-person stuff is and human connection is,” Naranjo said. “I don’t think this is gonna end any time soon, so I just hope that the school gets better at moving with it, rather than kind of waiting it out for things to go back to normal, which it seems like is happening right now.”

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