By Samreen Maqsood
After the university announced the fall 2021 semester will be a “transition period” for Ryerson University, final-year students have mixed feelings about their last year starting off mostly online.
Final-year students have had a less-than-normal university experience with at least half of their degrees being online.
For fourth-year journalism student Kirsten Svitich, there is both excitement and frustration with yet another semester of online classes.
“I’m excited to finish my program and am looking forward to my internship in the second semester. But I’m quite upset that the semester is online,” she said. “[While] I do understand why the university chose to conduct most classes virtually, it’s frustrating to see people in large venues, such as concerts, when we aren’t even allowed in classrooms.”
While Svitich said having another semester online is warranted, she wished she had more opportunities to join in-person clubs and make new friends while in university.
“I transferred from another program so I’m completing my journalism degree in three years and most of it was online. When I think about that, I feel like I was robbed of a [proper] university experience,” said Svitich. “While I’m grateful to have an in-person class this semester, I feel like I missed out a lot on the university experience.”
Despite another semester of online classes, Svitich said she’s hopeful that the second semester will be in-person where she can enjoy her last semester in a “semi-normal” setting.
For Esther Deng, a fourth-year nutrition and food student, another semester of online classes “doesn’t sound too bad.” While she is excited to see her friends and get back to the buzzing atmosphere of downtown Toronto, she said she is “a little sad to see online classes coming to an end.”
“I always loved how convenient online classes were and the ability to turn off my camera and ask questions. It’s definitely less intimidating to ask questions virtually. I also love how some lectures are recorded or have closed captioning,” she said. ”It allows me to learn whenever I please and allows me to work part-time as well. I’m able to review lectures when needed and see what the professor says.”
With her graduation approaching quickly, Deng said finishing her degree makes her feel unprepared and nervous as she doesn’t know what to do after graduation.
The many opportunities after graduation, such as internships, going to grad school or working, was something she was looking forward to doing with her friends and classmates.
“Finishing off this way makes me think that I’m unprepared in my field as I’m unable to apply some things we learned into real-life applications. However, I’m excited to see what’s out there for me when I graduate,” said Deng.