Virtual Classes Spark an Interest in Returning to School

Alycia Bardon

Starting college in any situation is filled with nerves, uncertainty, and excitement. In the midst of a global pandemic, this is especially true.  But for Kimberly Penn, an English and Education major at GCU, the pandemic unexpectedly gave her the best-case scenario. Penn graduated high school in 2015 and decided to take a gap-year before going to college.

However, one year quickly became five. Seeing that classes would be starting virtually, she thought having classes online would make the transition a little easier. Halfway into the semester, Penn is enjoying her first year of school and even likes virtual classes, saying, “It has enough structure, but [it’s] also a little looser than regular school, so it has a little more freedom. Classes in person would be better and easier to learn in… but nonetheless, I’m still learning.”

Penn, who normally finds herself being shy, found a sense of security behind a screen and felt more comfortable to speak up and be herself. Penn really had no expectations for this semester, especially being out of school for so long. However, her sister, a former GCU alumni, was able to help by offering Penn her past experiences. Once classes meet in-person, Penn will be a commuter.

COVID-19 has made this year an unprecedented one and continues impacting nearly everything and everyone. For young people, some of that impact is in adjusting to a new way of learning. Everyone has different thoughts on virtual classes, and I am thankful Kimberly Penn shared her story, offering a bright spot in this bleak period.