McGill’s campus is looking very different this semester as students return to fully in-person learning for the first time in over two years. COVID-19 restrictions have been relaxed, Zoom lectures are becoming a thing of the past, and campus life seems to be coming back strong. For many new and returning McGillians alike, this fall may feel exciting, daunting, and unfamiliar. The McGill Tribune talked to some students about this semester’s return to classes.
“It’s my first real year because last year all of my classes were online. I prefer in-person––I feel like at home I was less motivated, but it was maybe easier to follow the class because you could just rewatch the lectures. But even if it is harder now, I feel like I am more motivated. To see all the people and interact with them––I prefer that.”
– Alexis Shank, U2 Arts
“I’ve been much happier with in-person classes. I felt very isolated at home––I was in a little cave inside all day. Now, I have to get out. I had one in-person class last year, and now all my classes are in-person. It feels much nicer, seeing and meeting new people. While the greater social contact is great, now I’m in my classes and I hear this symphony of coughing. I might wear a mask just for my own peace of mind.”
– Johnny Carter, U2 Education
“Last year, I didn’t have any fully online classes. I always had the option to go and I liked the assurance that, if I got sick, I would be able to watch recorded lectures, but now some profs are not recording lectures. And it’s frustrating because now you go to class and hear a lot of coughing because people feel pressured to go to class. Generally, I do prefer in-person, but it was good to know if you got sick, you wouldn’t fall behind. I also wish individuals would be more responsible––at least if people could wear a mask. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing that they lifted the mask mandate, but I think more insistence on responsibility would be good.”
– Mia Szabo, U1 Arts
“[The lack of COVID-19 restrictions] is weird. My roommate had COVID-19. People want to be in this post-COVID world, but we’re not quite there yet. But it does seem like when people do get COVID-19, it’s a regular occurrence. It’s manageable, but it’s also scary; it’s your first week living away from home and you get COVID-19.”
– Lucinda Silverman, U0 Arts and Science
“Last year was a bit different––I did one year of dental school, so a lot of it was online. Professors obviously had to adjust because they were healthcare professionals, which I think was responsible of them. But, at the end of the day, not everyone is going to be happy. A lot of our labs got cancelled and things had to be adjusted. But I think it was the right move because we were surrounded by healthcare people. This year, I like being in person––it feels like we’re back to normal. It’s weird to see Frosh starting again and people being more social than the past two years.”
– Kenneth Tan, M1 Medicine
“When class was online, I found it difficult to find opportunities for social interaction. Additionally, since I was starting my first year of university, the overall transition was a lot more difficult than if school was fully back in-person. The transition to going back in-person has been overall very smooth because it’s something that I’ve been wanting for a long time. Once I heard that school was going to be back […] I went in with the mentality of wanting things to return to normal as soon as possible.
[With COVID-19], I always think that it’s better to be safe than sorry because, while restrictions have been lifted, COVID-19 is still a thing, and catching it can still put a roadblock on your life. I’ve never minded masks, but I’m glad that large groups of people can gather and socialize again.”
– Devin Feng, U1 Science