As the year draws to a close, students are reflecting on a semester that contained both attempts at returning to normal and the continued anxieties of life during a pandemic.

While Keene State has seen a return to in-person classes this semester, the guidelines regarding testing and mask wearing remain in place, and the school has stated that students who aren’t feeling well shouldn’t attend class. Because of these restrictions, missing classes is a very frequent possibility for students. Zoom remains an option for many classrooms, but there are some classes whose full return to in-person learning makes it difficult for students struggling to follow COVID guidelines.

Caitlin McCracken, a junior, and the class of 2023 Student Body President stated that one thing that frustrated her this semester was a lack of remote learning support from professors, considering that the pandemic remains ongoing. “If students reach out to let a professor know they are actually sick, can’t make it to class, and ask for a Zoom link, they aren’t always provided one but then are marked absent even though they tried to make other arrangements. Zoom was always an option during the Spring 2020 semester and now professors are not always allowing it to be an option when necessary for students.”

Although she wishes there was more support for online classes, McCracken has enjoyed some aspects of KSC’s return to a more normal semester. As something that she thought went well this semester, McCracken cited “The ability to attend oncampus events in-person and reconnect with students.”

For some of the newer students at Keene, acclimating to their new schedule has been more challenging than adjusting to new COVID policies. Sawyer Pippin, a first year, said that one of the most challenging things this semester was his early classes. “Waking up for my 8 A.M..” Pippin said. “Super rough getting out of bed.” While he struggled with his early classes, Pippin said that overall his academics had gone well. “Keeping ahead of my studies and not being behind really helped me,” Pippin said.

Pippin is looking forward to the end of the semester and getting through finals. Over break he’s looking forward to “seeing old friends, family, and not having to worry about schoolwork.”

McCracken said that over break, she wants “To take a mental break from everything because this semester has been overwhelming for many. I also plan to spend more time with family and friends as that is hard to balance with classes.”


Gabe Schatz can be contacted at

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