CARROLTON, Ga. (WRBL) – Isaiah Hill is a junior at the University of West Georgia majoring in music education. He says his whose life has turned upside due to COVID-19 and he has tried to find ways to enjoy playing his instruments while balancing his schoolwork.

Last year, when UWG shut down the campus for students, many students were worried about how they were going to finish their classes and about not getting the same comprehensive education they were getting in person when classes were moved online.

“I was very skeptical when classes were online because I thought that the professors would have a hard time adjusting to online rather in person,” said Hill.  “I knew that professors were having a hard time switching from in person lecture to online but overall I think that all of them did a good job”. I think that some of the professors took some of the students’ feedback and changed the approach of how they were doing it.”

Hill says classes have been a struggle during the pandemic. As a music major, he is used to playing alongside his fellow artists and discussing music, but now they have to play outside and can only play in front of their professors in small numbers.

“Some people might not know that we still play our instruments with our masks on and even though I play the drums it is not that hard to adjust,” said Hill.  “The instrumentalists were given certain masks with holes in them, so they still play with no problem.”

Hill’s Aural skills class is a hybrid class, normally before COVID-19 it was a twice a week class. But now the professor divided the classes where half the class meets on Tuesday and other half on Thursdays says Hill.

“The class teaches students how to sing a pitch and carry a tune. The workload is not much but organization is key in order to succeed in the class,” said Hill.

Over several months, group musical performances and rehearsals, once a source of glee for millions of students, became potential hazards for students.

“I loved it when I was able to play along with my fellow classmates because sometimes, they gave me inspiration and motivation in class,” said Hill.  “Also, when I was struggling with certain pieces of music we would stay after class and practice together and help each other understand the sheet music. Fellow classmates and I help each other on Zoom or on Google Hangout so we don’t fall behind.”

The university has many things to help students make sure everyone succeeds. The Momentum Center offers peer tutoring, supplemental instructions, drop-in academic coaching, success workshops, and a number of employment opportunities for students.

“The Momentum Center and the Center for Academic success has been a huge help to me here at UWG,” said Hill. “Even though the Momentum Center is brand new, I feel that more students should take advantage of everything it has to offer. At the Momentum Center, they have extra study rooms if all the rooms in the library are full.”

Professors across the country understand the struggles of online learning for some students and are coming up with ways to reach every student can understand and learn.

“Professors and students are becoming more accessible and extending their office hours, which is very helpful because being in the university band takes up a lot of my time and sometimes, I don’t make it to the professor’s office hours,” said Hill. “Also, professors are understanding when it comes to turning in late assignments.” 

Even though Hill still has a year left until he graduates, he is worried about finding a job after graduation.

 “Junior year is the time when I should have been getting my resume together and looking for jobs. Before COVID-19 I had a plan on the career path and job I was interested in but now I’m not so sure,” said Hill. “I hope and pray around this time next year cases will be going down so I can still graduate on time and have the career that I have always wanted.”