Alex Arnold shares some advice for students who will take their first classes online beginning March 30.
As all of Cal U’s students prepare to take classes online beginning March 30 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, student leader Alex Arnold has some advice:
Stay on top of things.
“I can see how it could be a little bit tough for someone who has never had an online course before, because your skills are used in a different way,” Arnold said. “To be an online learner, a lot of it is you taking that initiative to do your work on time and be on top of your work, because it’s very easy to fall behind in online classes.”
In an online/distance learning environment, students have more control over when they access course content. Remember, Arnold said, the ability to work independently and still “get the job done” is exactly what employers want.
“Your employer is not going to hold your hand to do your duties or projects on time, and that’s the thing over the years that I have learned from online classes,” he said. “You have the liberty to do the assignments whenever you want, but you have to have the time management skills to turn them in on time.
“So that’s the good that comes out of this. All the students will be able to experience this now.”
A senior, Arnold will graduate this semester with degrees in both history and parks and recreation management. Two of his eight courses were offered online at the start of the spring semester, and he has taken online classes in the past.
He is a student member of Cal U’s Council of Trustees, and he is past secretary of the College Republicans Club and past president of the Parks and Recreation Student Society. He is still an active member with both groups and is also a student worker in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
He relates to the feelings of his fellow graduating seniors.
“It is tough because we’ve worked hard for four years, and you plan on doing the events that you do on campus as seniors,” he said. “But we have to hang in and finish strong.
“We are fortunate as students in that we still have our schoolwork for the rest of the semester, which should help take our minds off it.”
Arnold offered simple, sensible guidance to other students.
“The best advice I can give is to relish every moment that you have at Cal U and do everything you can to the best of your ability in the present time and when things return to normal,” Arnold said.
“Before spring break, I never knew that was going to probably be the last time that I ever sat in a classroom. You never know when it’s going to be your last time doing something.”
Arnold is also in his fourth year as a seasonal park ranger with the National Park Service and began working with them as a volunteer at the age of 13. After graduation he is scheduled to be a park ranger at Gateway National Recreation Area in Monmouth County, N.J.
One of his past park ranger roles was being an intellectual wellness coordinator, and he hopes his fellow students take advantage of the outside while coping with the pandemic.
“Go out and take a walk, ride a bike or do something you enjoy to get away from the monotony, and then come back in and do some studying,” he said. “You want to stay on top of the current information, but sometimes you have to turn it off for a little while to just not keep thinking about it.”