Students pleased with first in-person semester in almost two years

Gauri Raje, Assistant News Editor

UTSA is set to wrap up its first in-person semester since the beginning of the pandemic. Overall, students were satisfied with the progression of the semester. 

“So far my semester has been pretty good. It went by super fast: faster than I ever expected. I got to meet a lot of new people. Definitely a good college experience living in [a] dorm and on-campus,” freshman Aliyah Young said.

Freshman Lizeth Torres, who lives on campus as well, also found the experience was a good one. 

“I will say, this semester has been pretty good for me. It definitely surpassed my expectations, especially with in-person classes … the classes that I’m taking, most people were wearing their masks and that made me feel safer,” Torres said.

Senior Trey Doña also expressed satisfaction with the semester. 

“Generally speaking, I could say I had a pretty good time, because [it’s my] first semester on-campus,” Doña said.

Gabriel Murillo, a junior majoring in environmental science, also found that the semester exceeded expectations. 

“I honestly think that this semester went better than I thought it was going to. I was kind of concerned with the whole coming back to class [and] how that was gonna go, but overall, I feel like UTSA handled it very well,” Murillo said.

Murillo also explained how the transition back to traditional classes and spending more time on-campus was a great way to stay motivated throughout the semester.  

“[Being on-campus] definitely forces me to improve on my time management skills. Last semester, I got to spend all day in my apartment. I found that assignments would take me all day [and] now it doesn’t take me as long and I find that I’m studying better and I’m getting more use out of my time,” Murillo said.

Torres also expressed that being on-campus turned out to be very motivating. 

“Even while I sit down and eat and I see people working, it definitely motivates me … It definitely does keep me motivated and focused and on track,” Torres said.

Torres also pointed out that the transition to traditional in-person classes improved the learning process, while adding that the transition was “pretty jarring at first.”

“I definitely do better in traditional in-person classes. So, I’m glad that most of my classes were in-person, because it gave me the opportunity to just succeed and do the best that I possibly could,” Torres said.

Along with their satisfaction about the semester in general, students also expressed that their professors were accommodating and understanding about the transition back to in-person learning after over a year of online learning. 

“I’d say my professors did a good job accommodating and trying to incorporate all the students and helping them transition from online to in-person,” Torres said. “I know a lot of students, especially for a lot of freshmen, most of them had their senior year done online and couldn’t get the in-person experience. So, I think my professors definitely helped a bunch of us … [in] making the transition smoother from online to in-person.” 

Freshman Young also expressed a similar opinion.

“A lot of my professors are really understanding. They understand that we are in a pandemic … and that families do come first and so does mental health,” Young said.

Students also voiced positive opinions about the UTSA campus.

“The campus here is very beautiful, very clean. There are a lot of on-campus activities that you can do. I love going to the library. [It’s] a very quiet place. People here are so nice and interactive. So, I really do like the campus,” Young said. 

Torres echoed a similar sentiment about campus. 

“I feel pretty safe here. I walk around a lot because I don’t have a car. But, I’ve been walking around and I feel pretty safe. I wouldn’t say there’s been instances where I’ve felt like I was in danger or there’s been a possible threat of something happening to me, so I’d say this is a pretty safe campus,” Torres said.

Young further emphasized that living on-campus was a good experience. 

“I live in Alvarez, so, very good privacy. [We] only share a bathroom … I do like living on-campus. You get to meet a lot of new friends; a lot of my friends are in Alvarez and on-campus. So, I like that experience as well,” Young added.

However, Doña was quick to point out safety issues with on-campus living as well as “a lot of accessibility issues [on-campus]”.

“There’s not a lot of security when it comes to campus because I was in Chisolm and my room got broken into,” Doña said.

As the semester comes to an end, a lot of students will be taking in-person exams after a very long time.

“I’m a little nervous … because it’s like everything I’ve learned over the past three months and considering [that] the first three weeks were online, I have to revisit what we learned those first three weeks and try to remember everything … honestly, yeah I’m a little nervous for finals, but I’ve been studying here and there, trying to remember everything I’ve learned. So I think I’m pretty good,” Torres said. 

Junior Murillo also expressed confidence for the upcoming finals.

“I am feeling confident, but I am noticing that as the semester is going on, as we’re getting closer to holidays, it’s getting harder to study,” Murillo said. You’re just so ready for those exams to come and you just wanna be done with it. But I’m not really worried about it. I’m gonna continue doing like I have been doing and it’s worked out so far, so just gonna continue the process and just try to finish strong.” 

As UTSA’s first in-person semester since the pandemic draws to a close, students expressed satisfaction with the semester and the university’s transition to in-person learning.