Normality doesn’t feel so normal for Golden Eagles

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Cornell Chuaseco

Students are back in-person and excited to be on campus, but others are not as excited.

Denis Akbari, Intern Reporter

The first few weeks back on campus have been a rollercoaster of emotions for students at Cal State LA, causing some to wonder if going back to normal is even possible.

Many students are happy to feel the school spirit and engagement across campus and to connect with people in-person again while being safe. Others feel like it’s not the same anymore with all the restrictions in place and wish they were still attending Zoom classes.

“My first week back on campus has been surreal,” said Leonardo Pallares, a business management major. “It felt like the first day of my freshman year. I was overwhelmed with emotions and excited to see so many people. Since I’m so involved within the campus, it is amazing to be back. l love connecting with people in-person.”

Mechanical engineering major Abel Guillen feels like his classes have had a relatively smooth transition back to in-person instruction. He feels like this is what colleges should be doing.

“My first week back on campus felt refreshing,” said Guillen. “It was good to finally see other people instead of profile pictures on a screen. Now, I really feel like I’m in college and that I’m learning compared to the last two years.”

Civil engineering major Sean De La Paz also feels appreciative of how Cal State LA is working to keep the campus safe.

“It feels like I’m back home,” said De La Paz. “I really missed it. I didn’t like being stuck at my desk all day and night during remote learning. It has been very stressful these last two years, and I am thankful that our school has done its best to ensure we have a safe learning environment.”

While enjoying the social aspect of being back on campus, many students, such as business law major Ozzy Pena, still have mixed feelings about being back. Pena prefers remote learning for his convenience and safety.

“I love the overall college experience like meeting new people and gathering with friends in clubs and organizations,” said Pena. “However, that’s a bit challenging to do with masks, which are important to be safe, but they’re so uncomfortable.”

Kendall Adams, a communications major, doesn’t feel comfortable being back in-person.

“My first week on campus was ok, but I don’t feel like I’m getting as much out of class when we are in-person,” said Adams. “It’s harder for me to participate in class discussions in-person because I get social anxiety and that affects my understanding of the material.”

Pan-African studies major Joseph Brown likes being back on campus, but the restrictions make him feel as if he’s not even at school.

Brown believes that for many students, the college experience is more than just academics.

“Some students are driven by campus life to keep going in college, but right now there is little to no real campus life,” said Brown. “This makes it a breeding ground for growing depression and anxiety.”

He thinks that what students need right now is more campus life programs. His definition of campus life is a place that helps students excel mentally, financially and socially.

“A lot of activities are based on academics, counseling and careers, which are needed, but to keep students engaged and to keep them thriving, we need more fun events that could help to build community on campus,” said Brown.

“It would be great to have events that reflect the LA area we serve and that incorporate what’s going on outside of school as well,” he added. “It’s hard to build community since Cal State LA is a commuter school. Having programs that can help create those spaces for peers to meet and form community with each other would be great.”