JCU students share their thoughts on returning to campus


Rachel Scully

John Carroll is slowly reopening campus while also following Ohio safety recommendations.

Laken Kincaid, Staff Reporter

Students have officially returned to campus. After months of remote instruction, many professors and students are ready to attend classes face-to-face and tackle the “traditional” college experience. For some of the freshman class, it is their first time on the JCU campus. 

“The bell tower lit up at night was the first thing that caught my eye,” Tina Besenfelder ’24 stated. “It stood out and gave me a feeling of warmth and belonging.”

Besenfelder moved into Campion Hall on Jan. 10 along with  many fellow first-year students. She views being on campus as a chance to be a part of the Blue Streak family. 

“Being in person for my classes is holding me more accountable. Seeing people in person versus on a screen makes a world of a difference. I finally felt a part of a community.”

“I love human connection, and having that has made learning so much easier,” said Emily Slusarz ’24. “I also love the change of scenery from my bedroom. It makes me feel so ecstatic to see the people I have become close with in person. To see their faces in real life just puts a huge smile on my face.”

Along with the many on-campus freshmen who have embraced the new change, a slew of commuter students have also begun to feel a broader sense of belonging.

Being online for so long, going back in person was kind of weird,” Kaeleigh Patriski ’24 said. “It is nice to see people I am not related to again. That person-to-person connection is really important to me when it comes to learning.” 

Patriski also expressed concerns about contracting COVID-19 due to the return to campus. “Being at a higher risk for severe COVID-19 and having a weak immune system, it is kind of scary to be back in person with a lot of people. I am excited but nervous,”she said.

With so many students returning to campus, some have concerns about whether remote students will be able to succeed in a hybrid environment. 

  I’m disappointed that I won’t get to be with my friends for my last semester,” said Andy Penk ’21, who opted to be a virtual student. “To say that [virtual learning] is the same quality of learning as the classroom would be 100% false. I struggle to hear sometimes in my hybrid classes, when the professors move around while lecturing. That said, it is something, so I will take it, as I’m almost at the finish line.”

“It’s more difficult than when we were fully online because it’s harder to see and hear,” Olivia Cortese ’23 said. “We are getting to take the same classes and such, but we don’t have direct access to everything, which makes it a bit more difficult.”

Remote freshmen have also been struggling with hybrid learning. “I wish that I was in the classroom just to have that in-person experience instead of staring at a screen all day, but I know right now that’s not possible for me,” said Isabelle Marincheck ’24. “I wish there was some way to put online students in one class and in-person students in another class. That way, professors could focus on teaching one group of students at a time.”

While this may seem incriminating to John Carroll University’s educational staff, a multitude of students have cited the school’s virtual limitations as a reason for remote classes being more difficult. However, people are impressed with how professors are coping. 

I think my professors have really thought their plans through and are trying to make it as easy as possible,” Slusarz said. 

Marincheck added, “In all of my classes, it seems that all of my professors know how to use the technology that the school has provided for hybrid learning and that helps a lot.”.

The second week of classes at John Carroll University is already underway, and both remote and in-person students are preparing for the rest of this unorthodox semester.