New ARC students voice their opinions on online college experience

Most first and second-year students have yet to set foot on campus


Recent high school graduates have been thrown into the online college experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that has kept most students online since March 2020. (Photo illustration by Jahson Nahal)

For some students at American River College, the last time they took an in-person class was during their senior year of high school. ARC shifted online in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and students who enrolled after the transition has gone through a completely online experience.

Fiona Cuny, a first-year social science major, has been unable to experience in-person classes at ARC.

“I was looking forward to, in a college experience, being able to have classmates I can talk to and being able to talk to teachers, but unfortunately online learning was not able to give me that,” Cuny said.

Carla Montaruli, an international student-athlete from Italy in her first year at ARC, also has not been able to take an in-person class yet.

“The last time I had an in-person class was during my senior year of high school, specifically March 7, 2020,” Montaruli said in an email to the Current. 

Angela Booth, a second-year psychology major at ARC, was able to take in-person classes right before everything shifted online. She says she misses that experience.

“For me, being a hands-on learner, it was very beneficial for me,” Booth said. “You could communicate with people in person, ask more questions, and it was a lot more interactive than what it is online.”

Newer students have faced struggles with their online learning experience at ARC like difficulty communicating with classmates and professors.

“Many students during this period of change have found it difficult to approach the new platforms used to communicate with professors and classmates and to participate in class,” Montaruli said.

Booth says she has experienced communication problems with her professor. 

“Having to wait a couple of days for your professor to respond to you and then you guys have to go back and forth with emails, it prolongs everything,” Booth said.

Cuny says that something she likes about online learning is how lecture videos follow the accessibility guidelines.

“Being able to pause, being able to go back, being able to rewatch and being able to read it [the captions] has been really helpful for me,” Cuny said.

Some students like being able to work on classes at their own pace.

“It makes it a lot easier to fit school into your schedule because especially if you have an asynchronous class you just do your classes, schoolwork, or reading whenever you have time,” Booth said.

With more in-person classes being offered for the spring 2022 semester, some students will have the opportunity to get on campus for the first time. 

Cuny said that she wants to take in-person classes for subjects that she struggles in.

“It might be easier for me if I have classmates that I can coordinate with and get help from,” Cuny said.

Booth says that she would also take in-person classes if she has the opportunity..

“There’s a lot of times where students may ask really good questions that you were wondering about or maybe it’s something you didn’t think about,” Booth said. “Getting other insight is what makes the experience of being in person so helpful.”