DAVIS (CBS13) — College is often touted as the best four years of a person’s life, but when the world is full of uncertainty, it can stoke fears of the future.
When the campus is empty at UC Davis, coffee shops become the classroom.
“It almost feels like a break, even though we’re doing school work,” said Lena Bondogyi, who spent the day studying with her roommate and sipping coffee. It’s one of their home’s few outings as classes continue online.
“For us, we’ve had to change everything,” said Zena Lababidi. She’s pre-med and has had to take labs online, which is something she’d much rather do hands-on and in-person with the rest of her class.
UC Davis said they’ve been providing their students with materials to perform the labs at home, but Lababidi still has fears brewing in her mind.
“Am I going to find things more challenging in medical school for the fact that I got used to online and not in person?” she said.
These are questions students of any major may ask — will education now impact their learning or careers post-grad? Will they be behind? Cory Vu, the Associate Vice Chancellor for Health, Wellness, and Divisional Resources at UC Davis, recognizes these feelings felt by students everywhere.
“It’s really hard to understand exactly where the impact is with this remote instruction, but we’ll understand more later down the road,” Vu said.
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As some students fear the future, the university said they work with them. Whether it be providing career help and connecting them to employers through virtual job fairs, or providing mental health resources — something Vu said the university has seen an uptick in students taking advantage of them.
Vu said student success comes first.
“We understand that what we do here is helping students get through and succeed,” Vu said.
Even at the lower level, freshmen like Marwa Mojadidi notice the challenges and hope for the best. Even when this year hasn’t been that.
“It’s definitely not what I expected,” Mojadidi said. She’s from the Bay Area and currently living off-campus for her first quarter.
As the pandemic poses more challenges, Mojadidi, a communications major, said if there’s a silver lining, it’s the quick adaptation skills she’s developed and hold on to for her first college memories.
“I’m still learning … just in a different setting,” Mojadidi said.
For soon-to-be graduates, UC Davis’ Marcie Kirk Holland said the biggest challenge is believing the perception that post-grad opportunities don’t exist in the current economy. Interviews and training, she said, are being conducted remotely. It may take longer for recent grads to find employment, she said, but employers are reaching out to their campus for recruits, showing promise.
As for anyone in college, Holland said this new set of digital skills and self-motivation make grads even more marketable one day.