There is an old Greek proverb that says “a society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.”
It’s extremely hard to rationalize anything that’s happened this semester in the wake of coronavirus, with Long Beach State having to completely overhaul how it delivers its learning and in a ridiculously short amount of time.
As a graduating senior, I’m glad that my tuition is being utilized in a way that allows me to keep my educational plan on time and on track.
Although many students feel that their tuition and fees should be returned given the current circumstances, the fact is our semester hasn’t been canceled. It was heavily modified in a way that many feel was a huge inconvenience, but our fees and tuition are still being utilized in a way that directly benefits us and future students.
The conversion to distanced education has not been easy for anyone involved, but it’s been particularly hard on students.
“While the global COVID-19 pandemic has changed the nature of the way in which classes are offered, students who successfully complete these classes will achieve important learning outcomes,” said Jeff Cook, strategic communications associate vice president in an article by Paris Barraza. “Staff, too, have been focused on delivering our many student services even in this unprecedented remote environment.”
Though Cook’s words allude to a more positive outlook on the situation, some students don’t seem to share his optimism.
“We should have part of our tuition reimbursed because most of the fees are for services that we get when we are on campus,” said Saravady Me, a fourth-year English education major. “Now it’s limited due to online learning.”
Some students would even argue for reimbursement due to what they feel is a dip in quality.
“Teaching quality seems to have gone down,” said Robert Conley, a third-year history major. “So if we’re getting a worse quality education, why is it not being reimbursed?”
Current students have every right to feel that way. This isn’t anything that any student; or instructor could’ve anticipated.
I try to look at things from a far more altruistic perspective.
Our current state of learning may not be what the brochure offered us in our orientation, but the tuition funds are working to provide current students the best education possible given the fact we’re in an unprecedented global pandemic.
I don’t like sitting in Zoom conferences anymore than the next student does, and it’s easy for people to feel like their expensive tuition is being used to pay for something that could be done for free over YouTube.
However, the means in which we are getting our education has been modified, not suspended or canceled.
Learning conditions may not be what we’d like, but this is uncharted water for everyone involved.
We also have to remember that when schools like UCLA decided to shift to an online format, we here at the Beach demanded the same.
There are many people who are wrapping up their academic careers this semester, and it may not have ended the way anyone could have planned. I didn’t envision my last year here to end this way.
But as the Greek proverb suggests, there’s a ton of work that needs to be done in order for the returning and incoming fall 2020 students to get the sense of normalcy that we knew but was abruptly taken from us.
I remember my experience visiting the campus for the first time during my SOAR orientation and how beautiful I thought the campus was.
It takes a lot of people working very hard to maintain the campus. For incoming freshmen and transfer students, I want them to have the same experience on their first day that I did.
If my tuition goes towards paving the way for future students at The Beach even in this time of social distancing and online instruction, so be it.
As news breaks that face-to-face classes will resume in the fall, there’s all the more reason that the tuition we paid continue to fund the efforts that will get the Beach back on track.