Can you do the math? 180 days multiplied by the number of years you have been enrolled in school, all the way back to pre-kindergarten? I would say that is a lot of time sitting at a desk with a No. 2 pencil. But we all go through it, we have to; there are state compulsory attendance laws in place to make sure we are there, in our classroom, seated and ready to say our name when it’s called. But, after your state’s specific age of legally required school presence is over, it’s all up to you.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “In 2017, there were 2.1 million status dropouts between the ages of 16 and 24 and the overall status dropout rate was 5.4 percent.” This is a large percentage of high schoolers, but college dropouts make that statistic look minuscule.
CNBC published an article in October 2017 that included Bill Gates’ perception of college attendance. Although he dropped out himself, CNBC said he supports higher education. Gates wrote in his blog that it was great that two million students planned on attending college in the fall of 2017 but, unfortunately, “based on the latest college completion trends, only about half of all those students (54.8 percent) will leave college with a diploma.”
In some cases, money, circumstances and other objectives come up and therefore students have to leave school—I understand that. But for the people who have the ability to pursue a degree, want to, or are currently, they know it is no easy path. No path is uncomplicated, but this is the specific one I chose. To live, sleep and learn at a college. I chose to go to class on-campus and learn in a physical classroom with my professors.
And for three whole years I got to do just that. It has been everything I hoped it to be. Until March 18, the day KSC students received the heart-sinking email explaining that remote learning throughout the semester has begun. Suddenly, I remembered all the motives why I chose to go to Keene State, and why I put myself in their hands.
I did this because I needed to surround myself with people with the same interests and goals in mind. To have classmates down the hall or teachers buildings away to talk to and bounce ideas off of. I need a quiet place to turn to so I can read. And at home I don’t have a desk or space to study. But these are all things that I can’t control right now, because this epidemic is much larger than our school; it’s all schools, most businesses and jobs. So, for the following weeks students need to push through with these online classes to get the job done.
There are negatives going forth with this new way of learning for sure, but there are always benefits for going through something tough.
Understood.org has listed pros and cons to online schools (what we are basically in now temporarily) that may help students see both sides. The Understood Team says that online classes may require more self-discipline than in-person ones, meaning, “students need to create their own structure and keep themselves organized and on track.” For those who still have to Zoom chat with your class, you can do it from your bed and in your PJs if that works for you. Although this is true, I don’t recommend doing this often, because motivation is key.
These are still real classes, and you are getting credit.
Your professors are still there if you have questions and Keene State faculty and staff are working alongside you. It is up to you to stay healthy, positive and be part of that 48.2 percent.
Kiana Wright can be contacted at