Mixed feelings: Fresno State students return for in-person instruction

Students congregated at the Henry Madden Library after returning to campus for the fall 2021 semester. (Edward Lopez/The Collegian)

As the new school year is underway, many students enter this semester at Fresno State as second- or third-year students without ever having stepped foot on campus before.

“What I’ve liked coming back to school from online has been the face-to-face interaction of you with the teacher … and seeing everyone back makes you feel like everything’s back to normal,” Aaron Vega Mendoza, returning senior and plant science major, said.

As of Aug. 30, 25,047 students are currently registered at Fresno State, Fresno State public information officer Lisa Boyles Bell said.

For many, this was their first time experiencing campus culture and studying away from home. Fresno State’s campus remained partially closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, with students taking virtual courses during a majority of the 2020-2021 academic year.

“Sometimes at home it would be noisy and I couldn’t have a quiet space, so being here is way better because I can actually focus,” Emilio Delgado, first-year criminology major, said. 

An aspect absent during the virtual year was the experience of student activities and clubs, and Fresno State Student Affairs and Enrollment Management welcomed students with a live DJ and gift giveaways as introductions to campus life.

“I’m looking forward to participating in all of the campus activities like the student sunset and maybe join a fraternity or something.” Preston Sisana, a freshman criminology major, said. 

“What I enjoyed most was watching people because I’m a freshman and this is all a new experience to me, and I feel like I’m in a movie being able to see people go to college and just feeling the vibes and everything,” Sisana said.

Concerns have been expressed about the delta variant and how it may affect students’ classes and health. Comparisons are also being discussed about current in-person classes and the convenience and safety of online learning.

Worries of overcrowding in classrooms has caused students to be apprehensive about the idea of in-person classes, causing discomfort over mask practices of other students. 

“The university is trying to mandate masks but I don’t know, just looking around and seeing people without their mask on defeats the whole purpose,” Cindy Her, a senior majoring in child development, said.  

Some classes remain a hybrid of both online and face-to-face. The rollout of hybrid courses in many class schedules is causing some frustration and confusion for students.

“One of my labs have been canceled and is being held online … but I feel like it should be the other way around, where like all my classes that are lectures … need to be online and like labs will be in person so that we get that hands-on feeling and experience,” Her said. 

With classes back to in-person, the thought of transitioning lectures to a virtual format is something Her considers a safe option so students can use in-person time gaining experience through hands-on courses in labs for their major without having to worry about issues with class schedules or health concerns. 

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