CUNY Students Search for Motivation while Learning Virtually

By Isabel Tobon

Coronavirus has changed everyone’s life quickly and dramatically, from having to be in quarantine for months to wearing masks at all times and sanitizing everything we touch. College students were greatly affected with ongoing campus closures since March of 2020 . Many students have missed the physical resources that colleges provide like library books, computers, reliable internet, and in-person tutoring that were helping them to pass their courses. The virus also caused many students to lose jobs, which were their main source of income to pay for their studies.

Learning from home has had a major impact on their focus and practical ability to succeed.

“COVID-19 has made my motivation to do schoolwork disappear,” said Christopher Lucero, currently in his third semester at Queensborough Community College. “When the semester changed to online classes last year, I really liked it since I didn’t need to go all the way to campus to go to class, I could basically get up for class five minutes before it began. But then I got lazier every day and I couldn’t even wake up for class anymore. I started slacking with school work and I lost track of the due dates… even though the semester was still going on, it felt like this semester was over in my head. There wasn’t even that much work to give in, but I had too many distractions in my house that made homework impossible to finish. I was not paying attention to the work given, I was trying to give it in before the due date. When the semester finished, nothing I had learned throughout the semester had stayed in my brain. All I wanted to do was watch TV and eat every hour until next semester started again. My future plans for school would be to attend classes at the campus in a classroom so that I effectively learn the things I need to know for my future career and so I stay productive and can keep up with the work”.

Christopher added that he felt he could not remember anything he learned via zoom classes, but was only focused on submitting work by due dates.

A first-year student at City Tech, Oscar Hernandez, had similar issues.

“For starters, I feel like my motivation was completely affected because it seems to have decreased and made me lose a lot of interest in certain things,” said Oscar. “As for school, I feel like it’s affecting the way I learn since I learn best in person and found it easier that way and the online process makes it much more difficult to

study, learn and complete certain tasks because my motivation plays a factor in it.

“I also decided not to attend next semester because in order to pursue nursing I need to learn important material and getting it through zoom is difficult and distracting,” he added.

However, for Trisha Angamarca, an AP student at LaGuardia Community College in her third semester, learning remotely has had the opposite effect, supporting her success.

“If anything [COVID] motivated me more to do well in my classes because it is much easier – like my labs are much simpler to get done because I get more time to get the questions right multiple times and getting participation points has never been easier,” she said.

“I do feel like I am learning because my exams are timed very strictly so I still have to study my material. I feel like technology is so advanced they found a lot of ways around it. My professors provided me with textbooks PDF links so I did not have to buy any books. I also get tutoring online which does help me.The only con would be I don’t get to meet new people, share my ideas with my peers, professors and get on-hand experience with my labs which is actually very important since it is what we have to be good at it for our future careers”.

From what these students said, there are pros and cons to learning virtually, like being in class in the comfort of your own home and not getting the full college experience. Everyone just has to adjust and do the best they can do until the virus ends and everything hopefully gets back to normal.

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