Student Story: Still Virtual Learning, Still Opportunities For Students

Commentary By: Thomas E. Edmund, Jr.

NATIONAL PARK, N.J. — As the summer season continues to wind down, students may have returned to or started their 2020-2021 academic year. Some students may be freshmen in college, such as myself, feeling the adrenaline of the prospect of the safe return to the physical campus or in a situation similar to the what the Class of 2020 experienced this past spring.

I am a freshman at Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) and plan to obtain an Associate of Arts Degree in Communications/Journalism and then transfer to a four-year university. The main campus of the community college in Sewell, Gloucester County remains closed for in-person instruction until at least January, but as the school maintains safety protocols for its students and faculty, the classes are offered as Hybrid and Live Online courses.

For the Fall 2020 semester, I have three live online or synchronous classes which includes English Composition, Art Appreciation, and Principles of Sociology. This means that I have to follow my student schedule and log-on at a specific time in the day in order to meet with my professors and classmates via the online application Zoom. On the other hand, the fourth course, History of the United States is asynchronous, so I have the chance to complete my coursework at my leisure, all while turning assignments in on time, of course, just like if I was in a regular, in-person class.

This past Tuesday was the first day of classes, and, while I may only have two classes per day, I have already had mini homework assignments to introduce me to each course. My schedule has four days of courses and nothing Friday. This will allow me to finish assignments before the start of the weekend.

The College Store at RCSJ, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble Booksellers, reopened on August 17. As of now there is limited occupancy similar to New Jersey restaurants and other retail stores around the tri-state area. Hopes are that operations will be back to standard pace to ensure that textbooks and other school materials are available to students in a timely fashion.

Student Clubs and Academic Advisement, among the other various college departments, have even set up Zoom meetings and online resources. This allows new and returning students to gain the most out of their college experience whether from their living room, kitchen, or bedroom.

The novel coronavirus may have dampened certain aspects of education in 2020, but let this semester be the beginning of something great for a whole academic year for students.

Thomas E. Edmund, Jr., “TJ”, is a 2020 graduate of Gateway Regional High School in Woodbury Heights, NJ and a former intern at Follow South Jersey. He is currently attending Rowan College of Southern New Jersey.

Follow South Jersey provides local journalism which highlights our diverse communities; fosters transparency through robust, localized, and vital reporting that holds leaders and institutions accountable; addresses critical information needs; supports people in navigating civic life; and equips people with the information necessary to partake in effective community engagement. If there is a story or event you think we should cover, please send your tips to with “NEWS” in the subject line.