‘Makes me excited’: Students adjust from virtual to in-person classes


John Blair | Staff Photographer

Students walk to their classes at the Cathedral of Learning.

By Leanna Chae, For The Pitt News

Now entering the second week of fully in-person classes, many Pitt students are still trying to adjust to running to meetings, racing to dining facilities and finding seats in big lecture halls.

Fanny Zheng, a junior biology major, said she is still adjusting to the change in instruction.

“I’m still trying to adjust to in-person classes because last semester I was very used to just rolling out of bed and logging on to my computer,” Zheng said.

Pitt returned to fully in-person classes last Monday after two weeks of in-person optional classes. Professors are encouraged to remain in person, but provide accommodations for students who are COVID-19 positive, or must quarantine or isolate.

Some students continue to be concerned about Pitt’s increasing COVID-19 case numbers and how in-person classes may be affected. Christy Kim, a sophomore environmental studies major, said implementing remote teaching options can keep students safe in the classroom.

“I think a hybrid option should still be in place for students who are in isolation or self-quarantining,” Kim said. “Not being able to do Zoom will probably make students who feel sick still come to class, which is really dangerous.”

Sarah Nackman, a junior French major, said professors should be “considerate” and provide accommodations to students, especially when students are concerned for the health of themselves and others.

“I don’t think there are any mixed feelings when it comes to in-person classes except for when professors opt not to accommodate students, especially those who are concerned for the health of themself [and] their family,” Nackman said. “I think the online option is great to have. I understand that it’s hard to conduct hybrid classes but at the same time, being empathetic and considerate of other people’s circumstances is also important.”

Zheng said while she does enjoy in-person classes, she wishes Pitt continued a hybrid option for its convenience and accessibility. 

“I do enjoy in-person lectures, but I wish that Pitt would do a hybrid this semester just cause if something comes up and we miss a lecture, we’ll still be okay and go back to recordings,” Zheng said.

Kim said in-person classes have affected her workload and study habits, and that she has “mixed feelings” about in-person work.

“I do have mixed feelings about work,” Kim said. “I feel like I need to be more productive now that things are in person. Virtual work was a lot easier, but I turned my brain off and was burnt out a lot of the time. I can’t afford that to happen with in-person work.”

Nackman also said she noticed that in-person instruction has affected her study habits, and said being in person gives her more discipline when attending classes and completing assignments.

“I like in-person classes. I did part of my high school online, and I hated it, so when I found out we’re doing online classes for COVID [last year], I was pretty upset.” Nackman said, “I think they do feel more normal. It gives me a sense of accountability because I feel bad if I don’t go.”

Besides academics, Kim said she wishes the class format would allow for more opportunities to interact with students.

“I love in-person classes, but making friends in your classes is harder than I expected,” Kim said. “Nobody really talks to each other, and it’s always so silent. I wish it would get more comfortable as the year goes on.” 

Regardless, Kim said being back in person makes her “excited.”

“Seeing all the people walk around on campus makes me excited because my entire freshman year was online, and seeing so many people again makes me excited,” Kim said.