Students reflect as spring 2021 semester comes to a close


Elisa D’Egidio , Staff Writer

This spring semester has differed from those prior and students hold conflicting opinions on how the changes have affected their college experience. According to some students on campus, this semester has been mentally draining because of virtual learning and a lack of communication from the school, while others are supportive of how the university has reacted to the pandemic circumstances.

In a Charger Bulletin article from Feb. 9, students were asked to rate how excited they were for the start of the spring semester on a scale of one to 10 – one being not excited and 10 being most excited – 21% of the votes rated one.

Recently, students participated in a survey that asked, “Which of the below statements most relates to how you feel about this semester?” As of May 1, 44.4% of respondents said they were satisfied with this semester.

Junior criminal justice major Chase Kozak said he is satisfied with the school implementing ReCharge days, “After being upset about not having spring break, at first, I have now come to realize that ReCharge days are so much better,” said Kozak, “I think we should continue this method going forward.”

Max Anderson, a junior industrial and systems engineering major, said that this was the “worst semester of my college career, can’t wait for it to be over!!”

In an Instagram poll asking University of New Haven students “overall, how did you feel about this spring semester?”, user @mariaaruehl said, “overwhelming stress and too much work hard to balance.”

Some students even lost their love for learning, such as junior criminal justice major Mattina Benedetto.

“I’m spending countless hours crying, being stressed, and frustrated because I constantly feel like I’m failing,” Benedetto said. “Giving four days throughout the semester for a break is such a joke, every student (most of my friends that attend UNH) are having mental breakdowns almost daily, and sending us an email that says “the school offers counseling” doesn’t cut it.”

Benedetto also suffers from chronic Lyme Disease, which flairs up with major stressors, COVID-19 being one of them. Because of severe pain, she struggled to get assignments done in a timely manner. Although she already had accommodations made with the school, she felt frustrated that during this semester it was very hard to learn and work with professors as “they automatically assume that you’re slacking off, that you don’t care.”

Freshman forensic science major Jennifer Tucci and senior marine biology student Amanda Bella both said that the school still needs to improve its communication with students.

Tucci said, “I think UNH did a good job controlling cases, but they did not do a good job answering students’ questions about guidelines. They also changed rules very suddenly without considering the impact on students.”

“The school likes to distract students with events instead of addressing many of our real problems and concerns,” Bello said, “I tried my best to adapt to online classes but it was very tiresome and took a large toll on my mental and physical health.”

Disappointed with this semester, Bello shared that she felt unsafe on campus after being in many classrooms that had not been disinfected.

Benedetto and Tucci agree in saying that ReCharge days are not as beneficial as a real break away from school.

In regard to what she was most disappointed about this semester, Tucci said, “It’s incredibly difficult to get involved and make friends because of the [COVID] restrictions. My mental health has been affected because I’m stuck in my room most of the time. Clubs and classes are online, which means I don’t connect with professors, and I don’t know any of the students in my classes. This has made me incredibly lonely.”

Senior criminal justice major Rudibeth Martinez said that although last semester she was very unhappy with how New Haven handled COVID-19, she feels neutral about this semester.

“As a senior me and a lot of other people were looking forward to at least having the carnival we usually have. Martinez said, “The pandemic has impacted all the activities that we were looking forward to and the ones that we are being given are not the best.”

Forensic technology graduate student Katerina Athaide said she believes that the university did a good job handling COVID-19, and she is unaware of any other university that has put in as much effort in keeping their students on campus.

“They were able to make it a safe environment while bringing students back on campus,” said Athaide, “With the weekly and monthly requirements of testing, social distancing guidelines, and CoVerified system, I believe that UNH did the best of its ability to have students remain in person.”