What is the new normal for college students?
Allison discusses the gap between pre-pandemic and post-pandemic life, and how a college student can define their new "normal."
After 16 months since the initial start of COVID-19, college students around the world have become highly experienced in balancing the consequences of the pandemic in their personal life.
Classes shifted to online or remote, in-person meetings became virtual, and we all had to adapt.
But as the number of vaccinated individuals trends upwards, universities have been lifting their mask mandates per CDC guidelines.
These gradual progressions back to pre-pandemic life lead us to form the question: what is the new
“normal” for education post-COVID? How will students want to or choose to learn once they
have learned through a screen for over a year?
For some, in-person learning is mandatory to their success. They flourish in a personable,
interactive environment where the information is in front of them and there’s no lag due to weak
Wi-Fi connections or running out of data. That college student will be excited to either return to a
similar routine they once had or establish a new one if they have transitioned from one level of
education to another.
"The pandemic made us more aware of the pros and cons of converting to an e-learning atmosphere, as well as tested our limits of what we can accomplish from home."
For others, maybe virtual learning opened up new opportunities. Taking courses from home on
your own time eliminated the need to commute from one location to another, and made your
educational and home-life interconnected. The online college structure has always existed,
but was often seen as less legitimate than a traditional degree. According to an article by the
BBC, researchers find that people who were otherwise not willing to pursue online courses have
been forced into that environment, which placed them in a position to rethink their feelings about
Overall, I think that the new “normal” for college students will consist of a blend between online
and traditional learning. The pandemic made us more aware of the pros and cons of converting
to an e-learning atmosphere, as well as tested our limits of what we can accomplish from home.
In the past, campus life was an integral part of the college experience, so to re-enter that into the
equation will show how invested current students are in being a part of and present on their
campus, given that it has been a while since on-campus life.
There will always be a gap in pre-pandemic and post-pandemic life. And, as a new or current college student, there will certainly be a desire to “make up for lost time." The best advice I can offer, no matter where you are on your academic journey, is to approach the coming semester as a time to exist on your own terms. Don’t give into the pressure of overcompensating for things you might have missed. Do your best to define your new "normal."