Seniors Reflect on Going Hybrid, Remote or In-Person

Meredith James, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

With the many changes Notre Dame has made to its schedule to accommodate Covid-19 restrictions, it is no surprise that many returning students are shocked with the new protocols. There have been many changes to the Notre Dame layout and how activities are conducted around campus. 

Looking to our seniors, their last year here at Notre Dame will definitely be one to remember. Some of our last year students have not been in the actual Notre Dame building since the beginning of the 2020 school year. 

While a large portion of seniors have returned to full in-person learning, some have become hybrid learners and still others have stayed remote. One senior, Meredith James, who was teetering on returning to Notre Dame in person, said, “I really returned to in-person learning to see my friends and give my senior year a somewhat more normal goodbye. It was worth it.” 

It is good to see our seniors return and even if it is not all of them, Notre Dame has done an exceedingly good job at making the campus feel like home again. Talking to seniors and gathering information, both positive and somewhat bittersweet, it seems as if our class of 2021 really missed Notre Dame and its community. 

Another senior, Jack Salzwedel, was a student who decided to stay remote in his learning for the rest of his senior year. 

“Doing remote learning has definitely been beneficial to my mental health, plus I have the ability to work more,” he said. 

Students with the ability to choose between virtual, hybrid and in-person learning have the opportunity to travel on their academic journey as they see fit. Some students may stay home due to family, mental health and the opportunity to begin the college transition. There is seemingly no wrong way you can go about your learning at Notre Dame. Our teachers know this as well and have soared in adapting to the virtual world.

Salswedel also said, “I do miss the teachers. I always enjoyed being in the classroom with teachers I liked.” 

Stated as above, students may be hybrid or fully virtual learners due to family concerns. One student who is well versed in family is Tara Janas, who is returning to campus for hybrid learning. Janas has a member in her family that is severely compromised when it comes to the coronavirus. However, her  brother’s immune system has been on the mend for quite some time, allowing the senior to return to hybrid learning. 

Janas said that she “was thinking about not returning as it was more convenient to stay home. In the end I missed being in the classroom too much to give it up.”

With teachers having to integrate zoom students with in-person students, classroom discussion and interactions are much more difficult. 

“Being in person and actually being able to interact with others around me gives me a wonderful sense of community that I missed,” said James. 

“I’m most excited about returning into a classroom where I can interact with others and have discussions about anything,” Janas said.

As the 2020-2021 school year begins to wind down into its final days, it is refreshing to hear the seniors speak out about their experience. This year has been a year unlike no other where community and togetherness has been nearly impossible. It seems as if Notre Dame is bridging that gap.