A Bennett College student penned an op-ed in The Charlotte Post today outlining the difficulties of remote learning this past year and how after the President’s American Rescue Plan ramped up a vaccine distribution program nationwide, she’s now fully vaccinated and excited to get back to a pre-pandemic normal.
The op-ed coincides with President Biden’s visit to Raleigh today to encourage more North Carolinians to get vaccinated. The visit is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s National Month of Action, a nationwide effort to reach the President’s goal of getting 70 percent of American adults partially vaccinated by July 4th.
As an English major at Bennett College in Greensboro, I have always taken my academic career seriously to ensure that my work is submitted on time and to the best of my ability. One of the most helpful places to get my work done on campus is the Holgate Library.
Before the pandemic, I spent an average of 25 hours a week in the library reading, writing, planning or simply enjoying my quiet escape from the outside world. The library provided unlimited resources and silence that allowed me to concentrate on completing my assignments quickly and efficiently.
Since I’ve transitioned back home for virtual learning, I’ve found it very difficult to complete simple assignments because of the change in my environment. Being a daughter, sister, and full-time college student is a task, especially when everyone in your household is COVID-19 positive at the same time. Staying on top of assignments while also looking after your family is demanding. At home, I’ve also noticed that I experience frequent moments of disinterest and boredom when completing schoolwork––a stark contrast to my studying habits at the Holgate Library.
Transitioning from seeing my professors every day to looking at them through a computer screen was a change I wasn’t anticipating to be so hard. As a “zoomer,” or Gen Z student, electronics and social media should be my strong suit. But, after being completely virtual for over a year, I can barely remember what an in-person class looks, feels, smells, and sounds like.
Thankfully, this coming fall will be different. I was able to receive two doses of the Moderna vaccine easily and have now fulfilled the vaccination requirement for my study abroad travels next semester. I’ll be going to Rome, Italy to study English and Political Science––being fully vaccinated makes me feel safe and motivated heading into this formative experience.
As a student who is ready to get back to in-person classes and enjoy life milestones, I couldn’t be more excited and grateful that life is beginning to get back to pre-pandemic normal. From working to ramp up testing and implementing a successful vaccine campaign in North Carolina and across the country, it’s clear to me that these changes were made possible by President Biden’s leadership. The Biden-Harris administration understood that the first step to getting kids back to school and back to a sense of normalcy was getting the virus under control.
Although it’s been a difficult year spending an entire year of my undergraduate studies in a completely remote setting, and I’ve missed the Holgate Library, I’m proud to be closing the chapter on virtual learning by maintaining a 3.9 GPA as well as two fellowships. As life returns to normal and President Biden helps get North Carolina and our country back on track, I can’t wait for all that’s in store as I continue my studies at Bennett College.
Ashley King of Rocky Mount is a rising senior at Bennett College majoring in English and Political Science.