TALES AT HUMBER: This semester has been anything but normal

Dec 17, 2021 | OP-ED, Tales From Humber

COVID-19’s “new normal” led to a very strange year.

Through the fall semester, Humber College saw many changes, from reduced services and students in the building to hybrid learning options for students and the rise of a new student advocate in Students United. And all over mere four months.

Students had to adapt to the new workflow and balance an altered lifestyle with school. Very likely, the stresses caused by the pandemic will continue for a considerable time.

The end of this semester’s exam period has been one the most stressful in my life. It seems as though everything was due on the same day, and included so much that could have been spread out more in the second half.

Many of these changes have been brought on without much input from students or professors, and were top-down from the administration.

In previous stories, I covered angles of this era of confusion, with both students and professors saying the increasingly corporate stance of the college has led to a disconnect between those that work and study here.

Communication has been a big problem.

To me, the language the school uses to communicate isn’t meant for students. The announcement that in-person classes were being reduced to 65 from 80 per cent is written as if aimed at a shareholders’ meeting.

While it sounds great, it doesn’t provide any tangible information of what classes were changed and how.

Humber Cafeteria

The Humber College cafeteria, once bustling with students, is now mostly empty and devoid of activity. Still closed, it is unknown when it will reopen. PHOTO CREDIT/JOSHUA DRAKES

I don’t believe this is intentional or done out of malice or lack of care. IGNITE, as any student union would, would be the middleman between the college and its students. They would be responsible to interpreting these messages. But they haven’t done that enough.

There are times when I’m not sure what’s happening on campus because there is no form of direct communication besides short emails. Uncertainty hangs like a thunder cloud over the college.

The announcement to return to in-person classes met strong opposition, leading to the creation of Students United, a new student union group, which predicted the choice would be reversed in some way due to rising COVID-19 cases and greatly impact long-distance students that had to move.

This has already begun to come true, with the college announcing the first two weeks of the winter semester will be online, just a day before students go on break.

There needs to be a better method of communication between the school and the students who are already buckling under the weight of studies and a pandemic that has uprooted all aspects of life.

We aren’t asking for much, just a method to know what any changes really mean.

If it would lower my stress level, it would surely do the same for other students.