With orientation week underway at universities in Ottawa, some students say they’re nervous that three years of online school hasn’t prepared them academically for the transition.
Like most of her new classmates, Sarari Zafer spent the majority of her high school years transitioning from online to in-person learning based on provincial shutdowns or COVID-19 cases at school. school.
Grade 9 was the only full school year Zafer completed before the pandemic.
“It was very difficult because we didn’t get to experience a lot, especially in our last years of high school.”
Now she wonders if her mostly online education prepared her to become a pharmacy student at Carleton University.
I think not having exams set us back.– Olga Przulj, first-year student
Zafer, who went to a private high school in Ottawa, said she took online exams every semester, but she said the experience fell short of her limited experience of in-person exams in 9th grade.
“We didn’t even feel like we were taking exams. It was like we were doing a regular quiz because the teachers knew that all the students would take their time.”
Although her professors did their best to support the students, Zafer said she still felt slightly underprepared for college.
“I feel like it won’t be the same workload,” she said.
She also fears that the leniency and laid-back attitude of her high school teachers at the height of the pandemic will continue at the university level.
Despite this, Zafer said she looked forward to being on campus and in a lab.
“A Big Leap”
Olga Przulj says she feels the same.
She enters her first year of health sciences at the University of Ottawa with a mixture of nervousness and excitement — anxious to maintain high marks with a university workload.
“It will definitely be a big leap,” she said.
For most of her high school years, Przulj didn’t have to worry about exams or end-of-year projects.
Przulj described most of his schooling as “quite rushed,” especially with modified semester systems like quadmestres, where students took two classes at a time for about nine weeks before moving on to new subjects.
“We didn’t really go into detail about all of our courses. We kind of just learned the basics, which I think kind of undermines the education.”
While she credits her teachers for supporting students with additional grades and resources, she isn’t sure that will be enough to fill the gaps from a lack of in-person assessments.
“I think not having exams set us back.”
Przulj said she was not alone in fearing tougher classes and grades, with many of her other friends also expressing similar concerns.
“They just don’t really feel prepared and they’re also quite nervous about the whole experience and how hard the classes will be.”