Class of ’20 capitalizing on college experience
Marion graduate Matthew Christensen has attended just one week of in-person classes at Kansas State University but he has kept a positive attitude despite disturbances his first year of college.
“It feels very similar to school in the spring,” he said. “I don’t mind it at all. I feel like I might learn better in person, but I don’t mind the schedule and just being able to hang out.”
Many courses at K-State are hybrids, meeting part of the time in person and the rest remotely, but all of Christensen’s classes are remote learning.
Hillsboro graduate Logan Oborny, who attends Hutchinson Community College, is attending classes in person. Oborny appreciates a hands-on diesel mechanic program with only having eight or nine classmates.
“It’s way better,” he said. “I’d hate to be in a classroom. I’m not the type of kid who likes to be in a classroom and I hated high school. Now that I’m doing something I can enjoy that makes it better.”
Learning by doing is important for his chosen trade.
“It’s kind of hard to be an ag diesel mechanic when you’re learning over a computer,” he said.
The courses Christensen takes aren’t just about what setting he learns in, but also what subjects they are. He is taking required classes as a freshman but likes when he is able to study something more interesting.
“Gen ed classes can’t be as interesting sometimes,” he said. They’re just not as exciting to me, but I’m taking an economics class I’m really enjoying.”
Beyond Christensen’s academic expectations, remote learning also has changed the social atmosphere of college.
“It’s kind of different,” he said. “There are so few people on campus because so many are online. Just walking around campus it’s obvious there’s barely anybody out.”
There is much less opportunity for Oborny to socialize in Hutchinson, as well. While it isn’t preferred, it has advantages.
With no classes Friday and fewer activities, he often is able to leave for a three day weekend and help on his family’s farm.
“I was planning on it being a five-day thing,” he said. “Once I found out it’s only 3½ days, that makes it a little better.”
Christensen noticed a particular difference early in K-State’s semester, when there normally would be events for students to get to know each other. His social interactions instead have been mostly with students on his floor.
“We’re very defined in who we can hang out with,” he said. “In the dorms we can’t have visitors from any other building, so you just hang out with people on your floor, which isn’t a super large group.”
He even is seeing limited activity from student organizations, which normally are a major part of any campus.
“Right now I don’t really have anything going on except classes,” Christensen said. “There are some clubs but not like there would be in a normal year.”