York Students are faced with new challenges amid Pandemic

By Rashida Goodridge

Now that the college is shut down and remote learning is the only access provided for students. It hasn’t been easy for York students and faculty to change to a new learning style overnight. The lack of face-to-face classes to online platforms, like Blackboard and Zoom has given some York students challenges, especially knowing their campus and educational life are not going to be the same.

After, receiving such news about the school closing down, sudden changes in the lives of York students were stopped. There were major setbacks for students who have jobs on and off campus, which helped support their education and provide technology. According to an article by “Inside Higher Ed,” Robin DeRosa, a director stated that “people are realizing that the circumstances are anything but normal.” Students are forced off campus to online courses, which is an element, they aren’t always open to in classes. Learning technology is more important than ever before, especially if it determines that educators can do more with their assignments and lectures in “Zoom rooms” or Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.

So, even if technology helps, there are students who can’t access it. The transition has removed the social experience of college, which many York students were looking forward to.

Luckie is an actor and the radio host of YCRadio performs on stage as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. Photo Credit Tuquan Smith

Luckie, an actor and radio host of YCRadio performs on stage as Mark Antony in Julius Caesar. Photo Credit Tuquan Smith

“I [don’t] have great Wi-Fi in my house, due to the fact [that] we can’t afford higher speeds,” says KeShaun Luckie, an actor and a senior radio host of YCRadio at York. “And that makes it difficult to join Zoom calls or submit assignments on time.”

Students Paying Out of Pocket to Support Their Education

Financial aid, grants, and scholarships have provided a lot of support for York students, who don’t have the financial stability to pay for their education and earn their degrees. So, with the shutdown in CUNY, it prevents paying off debts and receiving refunds. An article in “Forbes Magazine,” says the $1,200 stimulus check that is being sent out to over 80 million Americans will be excluding college students who don’t meet the qualifications, despite the loss they have experienced. The “stimulus check” can help solve several issues, York students are having in quarantine.

“I was no longer eligible for Tap, so I had to pay for this year through a loan and out of pocket money,” says Luckie. “I currently owe the school $200+ and if I [don’t] paid that off, [then] I will not be receiving my diploma [when I graduate this semester]. I’m hoping to receive the government stimulus check to pay off my debt.”

The unemployment rate has risen in the past month. Students worrying about being laid off or fired is more stressful than ever from their current workload to being responsible, for bills with the hope that government funding will continue to pay off classes for the rest of the semester.

“I am paying for my courses out of pocket with the help of some financial aid,” says Kendrick Elder, a senior at York. “Remote learning just makes things more complicated, since I have to rely on the internet and electronics more prominently. [So,] I worry about being laid off and losing [that] financial independence, [which] affects [the] personal finances that I take care of.”

Remote Learning Grabs Hold of the Social Experience of College Life

The shift to remote learning created a major gap, and what that means is York students will not be having an amazing and essential college life. There is a thin line for most students that look forward to that social interaction with friends on campus face-to-face rather than it being on social media, even though, that is great too. Face-to-face tends to develop a more conversational approach because it gives more time to go over assignments or just enjoy the company of hanging out.

“I miss the face-to-face interactions [on] campus,” says Luckie. “I’m a very sociable person and not being able to tell stories all day with friends or play card games was the biggest adjustment for me. I went from spending 5-8 daily with my friends to not seeing them at all. As the Drama Club President, I still talk to my club members regularly, but we haven’t come together to have a meeting online, only because I know that their workload far exceeds my own.”

Like KeShaun Luckie, Elder also finds the fault of not being present on campus anymore, since the shutdown in early March. The regular routine from school to work has brought a lot of tension, [since] life [has] become unbalanced.

“I do miss the atmosphere that York provided,” says Elder. “[It] allowed me to focus better on what was important. [I] was feeling a lot more structured and dedicated since I wasn’t around my video games or [my] mom, which [has been] a distraction. I also miss the familiar faces from the [college;] they were a joy to be around [during] classes.”

The semester is ending with a postponed graduation, and seniors have to start looking for work during this crisis. It would not be easy considering it takes a lot to find a job, that doesn’t consist of working in a grocery store or health care.

“I am currently looking for a business model that will allow for a stream of income that won’t be affected by a shutdown like this,” says Luckie.

Students have begun to recognize the struggles of not having the college experience, but advising and supporting each other gets them further ahead in this pandemic. KeShaun Luckie brings some reasonable advice to students going through this difficult time.

“Remember that college is what you make it,” says Luckie. “The experience can be great if you want, and terrible if you want, but ultimately it’s an experience, [so] when all [is] said and done. You have survived through a historic moment in history, and that in itself can never be [replaced].”