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Students and staff enthusiastic for in-person return

September 7, 2021
<p>Attendees of Sparticipation on Aug. 31, 2021 in Cherry Lane Park.</p>

Attendees of Sparticipation on Aug. 31, 2021 in Cherry Lane Park.

Amidst the scooters, summer heat and Spartan spirit, students returned to campus on Sept. 1.

With the largest freshman class on record, 9,200 students, this in-person return was exciting for many. Students and professors shared their eagerness to experience the bustling atmosphere of campus life.

Sophomore digital storytelling major Torin Caplan is on campus for the first time after taking online classes last year

“It’s very different,” Caplan said. “I feel like, for me at least, the online semester helped me ease into college and get used to the programs and technology and everything. It’s not like I’m suddenly being jolted into in-person classes, and I also have to figure that all out, so it makes it easier in that way.”

He is looking forward to the opportunity of in-person classes.

“Since I’m a digital storytelling major, which deals with film and stuff, the online semester we just had to use our phone and record stuff at home, but, now, I have access to MSU’s technology, and we can do group projects and different things like that,” Caplan said. “So it’ll be cool to be able to use that hands-on.”

Caplan is taking some time to adjust to living and working in a new location, but he thinks this will overall be a positive change.

“I’m excited,” Caplan said. “It seems a little overwhelming because it’s my first in-person semester and there’s a lot going on and a lot to handle.”

Biochemistry senior Spencer Kuehn hopes to connect with friends during his last year on campus.

“It’s good to be back on campus, finally,” Kuehn said. “Yeah, it’s nice to be back, nice to see old friends that I haven’t seen in a year and a half.”

Advertising and public relations professor Robert Kolt struggled as an asynchronous teacher last year.

“I missed [out] being away and being an online professor,” Kolt said. “All the classes that I taught online were asynchronous, so I would load several lectures during the week, and I found that students watched them if they were five minutes. If they were more, they just didn’t."

He is enthusiastic about how the in-person setting will potentially impact his lessons.

“We managed through it together. I like people, and that’s why I teach public relations,” Kolt said. “So I like to be in a class, and we have some good interaction, and that’s what I really miss is that face-to-face person interaction.”

Kolt believes this interaction is crucial to an effective learning environment.

“I think students learn so much more in a classroom because there’s direct engagement, and I’ve found that students want a relationship with their professor,” Kolt said. “You saw them introduce themselves to me, and that’s great because I think we want to help students succeed.”

He hopes, if students and staff follow the university’s COVID-19 directives, this environment can continue.

“I want people to stay safe so that we can move right through it,” Kolt said. “I know that we’ll still have problems, and we’ll have to be able to adapt, but I’m looking forward to a great year.”

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