Work from house desk

A year ago, no one ever could have predicted that half the student population at Missouri Western would be completing their degrees online. However, online school isn’t quite as daunting as it sounds.

While everyone holds their breath that Missouri Western could move fully online again, some students spoke about their transition to working from home.

For a non-traditional student like Anne Davies-Speer, moving online was jarring. 

“It’s safe. That’s the only advantage for me. Besides eating cereal during class, of course," Davies-Speer said.

Davies-Speer says that while she isn’t a fan of online schooling, she appreciates the professors for making the best out of a bad situation.

“My professor has done absolutely super. After awhile, Zoom can be too much," Davies-Speer said. "It’s hard to focus, hard on the eyes. But my professor knows when to give us a break and make sure we’re actually learning.”

Most of all, Davies-Speer misses class discussions.

“You miss the interaction. You miss the wit. The smart banter, the back and forth. You just can’t recreate that dynamic over Zoom," Davies-Speer said.

These are the cons of working from home. Students agree that while platforms like Zoom make working from home easier, they miss the social interaction that comes with in-person learning.

Senior Chandra Traxler is a double major in convergent journalism and cinema. She says that while her professors have done a decent job of teaching during a pandemic, she feels like the social aspect of campus cannot be recovered.

“You really lose your networking opportunities," Traxler said. "No one wants to have a casual conversation over zoom.” 

However, online school isn’t all negative. There are plenty of pros, and Traxler is grateful for the real-world practice of learning technology. 

“It gives you an idea of what the future could be," Traxler said. "Let’s be honest, jobs are moving online. This could be my future of working.”

Students agree that Zoom is a frustrating platform to learn over, but it has more benefits than disadvantages.

“I’m definitely more tech savvy now. I used to ask people to help me with computer issues all the time. But now, it’s me. I’m tech support," Traxler said.

Everyone agrees that the best part of working online is the pacing.

“I actually really like it. I’m the kind of student who likes to work ahead without distractions,” Traxler said.

Communications student Carrie Fisher also enjoys working on her own time, especially since she now has more time to work at her job and complete schoolwork around that schedule.

“I’m just grateful I get to continue my education. I’d rather not be upset by things I can’t control. And it’s nice to work ahead if I want," Fisher said.

Students agree that the best way to work from home is to create a dedicated work space.

“Your home can be really distracting. When I have zoom class, I typically go outside to get some quiet from my family. When I do homework, I usually just sit in bed, which is relaxing, but it’s not ideal, so I wouldn’t recommend. It can trigger depression and anxiety,” Fisher said.

Traxler moved an extra desk into her bedroom to create her own workspace, since most people struggle to be productive from their beds. Experts agree that separating your relaxing place (like your bed) and workspace is the best way to keep productive. 

When asked what Missouri Western could do better to cope with COVID-19, all students agreed that they are doing their best.

Davies-Speer might not prefer online schooling, but she expressed gratitude that she was able to finish her degree while remaining safe at home.

“Honestly? This is a mess. It’s literally a pandemic," Davies-Speer said. "That being said, Missouri Western is doing the best they can do.”

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