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  • Sincerely, Southern

COVID numbers draining motivation for college students

By Ajayla Shaw

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, 13% of students have delayed graduation, 40% have lost a job, internship, or job offer, and 29% expect to earn less at age 35, according to evidence from a survey in the Journal of Public Economics.

This alone can contribute to a student’s lack of motivation to get simple tasks done including assignments. Moreover, things were already pretty hectic for students before March 2020 when the pandemic shut down all extra activity because of the virus.

Specifically, on Georgia Southern University’s campus, students are expressing how COVID-19 contributed to the lack of motivation for them in relation to online learning. Students have responsibilities that include waking up early for class, finishing loads of work for multiple classes in the same time frame and balancing their social and academic lives.

Both sides of the student morale will be shown from those who lack motivation and who feel they see very little change in their motivation and ability to do assignments online. Joshua Gordon, a senior business accounting major at GS who graduates this spring, states that this semester he has struggled with the COVID-19 adjustments.

“I don’t care about these classes anymore,” said Gordon. “I know it’s bad to say, but I hate learning online and basically teaching myself.”

With students teaching themselves it leaves more than enough room for error.

Students don’t get the luxury of being taught with hands-on experience, and it is slowing down students' morale to get their work done.

Gordon, who is in his last semester at GS, is just glad to pass the classes and not looking for anything more or less. Gordon’s grade point average was negatively impacted by his lack of motivation during the pandemic, but he hopes to go directly into the workforce after graduation.

Ivan Golphin, a junior business marketing major, states that, “school is feeling very optional, I know it isn’t, but things aren’t normal, and school is continuing like it is.”

With students not being in class for face to face instruction, “students are beginning to feel that assignments can be turned in late, or made up,” said Golphin.

Ivan also adds that his motivation before COVID was lacking for natural reasons, but he always pulled it together, but this semester feels different. The impact that COVID-19 has had on students who contracted the virus is even worse.

Sierra Webber, alumni and graduate assistant, actually contracted the virus last September before she graduated. Webber was in her senior year of undergraduate when the pandemic started.

“I never lost motivation in my personal work, but being home definitely took a toll on me, being that my home was not stable,” said Webber. “After returning to campus, nothing felt normal, but I tried my best to stay on top of work, but I lost all motivation for extracurricular activities…when your health is at risk, none of that seems to matter.”

Christopher Hill, a graduate student in the Office of Multicultural Affairs, is in his last semester of graduate school and is ready to join the workforce. His degree focuses on public health and he hopes to have a career in a large city, which means a larger pool of competition.

“I know what needs to be done,” Hill said. “It is so easy to be distracted by the pandemic, but no one will have sympathy for the lack of experience or knowledge you have regarding your profession.”

Some students are very strong willed to complete work, some just aren’t able to adjust as quickly as other students. While some students prefer to work from home and attend class strictly on zoom, others are more hands-on learners who require face to face instruction to comprehend the material.

The majority of the students interviewed stated that COVID-19 is a major component in their lack of motivation to do well in their classes following the pandemic. Students say that academic achievement was already difficult for students with any major, and COVID-19 put a strain on their ability to focus on anything that wasn’t their health.

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