First-Year college students give insight on the experiences of a virtual first semester


Photo the Moorpark College campus courtesy of VCCCD photo archive. Photo credit: Clepsy Hernandez

By Alissa Schoepflin

Governor Gavin Newsom announced in July that all districts and colleges across the counties including Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange County were mandated to transition to virtual learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning this fall semester, students across Ventura County were starting the transition of all classes being held virtually.

Several students would have normally been preparing for their first semester at a new school or a new college, but due to these circumstances many were unable to, including numerous first-semester college students.

Savannah Nelson, one of Moorpark College’s newest students, gave some insight on how she is handling the transition of her first semester and how it has affected her experience as a college student.

“My first year at college has been very different than what I expected. Having classes online definitely makes it a bit difficult to learn to the fullest extent,” Nelson stated.

While it has been difficult to learn virtually, Nelson explained how despite the negatives of learning online, there have also been many positive outlooks to the transition.

“One negative aspect of virtual learning is that it is a bit difficult for me to understand the material when I’m not taught in person. A positive aspect of learning via is that I can do much more than I would’ve been able to with in-person classes,” Nelson empathized.

Despite classes being held virtually, Samantha Nowakowski expressed her experience as a first-semester student at Moorpark College and how the experience of interacting with fellow classmates has made the transition positive and something to look forward to.

“I’ve made a lot of friends in many classes. My professors break us out into breakout rooms together and I’ve been able to connect and interact with other students,” Nowakowski shared.

Although being a first-semester college student, Nowakowski expressed how even with the positive circumstances, there are some challenges with the transition.

“Personally, my experience has been way more different than I thought it would be. All my professors have been amazing, yet I wish things were a bit different. I don’t feel like I’m truly getting the college experience and nothing feels special,” Nowakowski revealed.

While students can connect and interact with each other, first-semester student Kaylee Atherton shared her insight on the transition and how it has been when interacting with professors at Moorpark College.

“It has been quite challenging and stressful since it’s been online. There’s a lot of confusion with assignments and office hours with professors are hard to workaround. Despite the negatives, one positive is that it allows for flexibility with work,” Atherton expressed.