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College Students Would Give Almost Anything to Go Back to College

A year into remote learning, a new poll finds students are itching to go back to campus.

By Pam JannesPublished 3 years ago 3 min read

College during COVID is not ideal, for more reasons than one. Not only do students have to miss out on the extra-curricular and social activities that make it the best four years of their lives, but they also have to suffer through remote learning - which often entails longer lectures, more homework, and less study groups that made the tough classes a little more bearable.

Taking a step back, remote learning is not all bad. There are certainly some benefits that come along with not having to attend courses in person on a daily basis. For one, students can take their lectures from the comfort of their bed in their cozy pajamas. No more waking up at 7:30 am and taking a long trek up to a dingy classroom building, only to sit in the back row and hope your professor doesn’t catch you drifting off. Students may also be able to save money on rent by moving back in with their parents, though that comes with many struggles of its own.

So how do college students really feel about the remote learning shift? It’s been a full year since life, as we knew it, changed in an instance. Are students used to the online experience and finally starting to soak in the benefits and convenience of connecting via their laptops? Or would they give almost anything to go back to the traditional college life they knew and loved?

A recent study by Grand Canyon University polled over 600 college students asking them about their experiences and thoughts on the situation. The results were pretty jarring.

A small minority of students (roughly 20%) say they do not ‘badly’ want to go back to campus. The largest percentage of respondents - 28.2% - say they ‘very badly’ want to go back (meaning attending in-person classes, labs, and study groups on campus, living in on-campus dorms/housing and enjoying on-campus dining options, participating in on-campus events, organizations, clubs, greek life, and sports teams, and socializing with friends in large groups on or near campus).

What’s particularly shocking is exactly what these students would be willing to give up if it meant they could go back to their schools. In a hypothetical world, given the choice between some of their daily essentials and a normal, COVID-safe semester, college takes the cake.

For example, 70% of college students would part ways with their AirPods if it meant they could go back to campus for just one month. 72% would give up their Spotify subscriptions and 57% would give up Netflix - though surviving college without music or entertainment to wind down would likely be a tall challenge.

A whopping 5.4 of every 10 students would forego Spring Breaks for the remainder of their college career to go back to their campuses. Spring Break is the monumental week where college students can kick back and forget about any exams or stressors that campus brings them. But as many universities have already canceled Spring Breaks this year in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus, this is a sacrifice that students are clearly willing to make.

One of the only things students aren’t as willing to part with - their cars. Just 33% would give up their car to go back to campus for a month. While many college campuses are walkable, some of the larger, more spread out ones would be hard to travel without a car. Though there are alternatives like public transportation or Uber, this is the one thing that gives students a little more hesitation.

The good news is, with vaccination coverage increasing and COVID cases declining, students won’t have to make any of these drastic sacrifices in order to go back to their campuses in the near future. While the college experience may be changed forever, it’s clear that being on campus is a sacred component of it that students are hoping to get back soon.


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