Online learning: The advantages of never having to step foot on campus

Adriana Ruvalcaba, Reporter

CSU Bakersfield, like many other universities across the nation, began the fall 2020 semester by adopting a virtual learning method to keep students and faculty safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The recent switch from on-campus to online learning has caused many students, including myself, stress on whether they will adapt to this new education landscape. 

But does anyone miss being on campus? Because I don’t.  

I am glad to finally let go of these time-consuming and frustrating school rituals. 

The Commute 

Like many students, I have a job.  Balancing work, school, and social life are a part of the college experience. According to the Center of Education from Georgetown University, over 70% of students have jobs while attending college. The pandemic has changed the social life and job situation for some, but many of us are “essential” workers, and we still have to go to work. 

Since virtual learning began, I have saved both time and gas money. 

My job is across town, on the East side of Bakersfield. My eight-hour shifts start at 3 a.m. and end at 11:30 a.m. From work, I would have to drive across town to CSUB, through construction and lunch traffic, which could take up to 45 minutes. I would often eat a bag of chips for lunch since I would not have time to stop.   

Being able to drive straight home after work gives me time to spare. I am doing things I was unable to do before like eat a meal, use the restroom, relax, and catch up on assignments before my class starts.  


I hate finding parking.  

I hated leaving an hour before class, debating on whether I should attempt a shortcut through a side street or to wait in the line of cars on Stockdale Highway (spoiler: it makes no difference), just to drive around multiple parking lots, only to end up in Lot J with 10 minutes left before class starts.  

And it gets worse every year. 

CSUB began the 2020-21 academic term with 11, 694 students. Last year, the CSUB website reported that in 2019 the enrollment was 11, 206 students, according to 23ABC New Bakersfield. That is a whole lot of new people taking up parking spots. Thankfully, this is an issue we can avoid for now.  


Entering a classroom sweaty and gross after running across campus would be embarrassing if my classmates were watching the door. But, most of my classmates are on their devices.   

This is not an anti-social media rant (I have checked my Instagram and my eBay bid five times since I started this piece). But I don’t miss being in a classroom where half of the students are on their phones, and even more of them hadn’t done the assigned reading. 

In Zoom sessions, the awkward silences are short. The instructors want to get the online class sessions over with just as much as we do. It is easier to be inconspicuous when texting or looking at Facebook during lectures. 

Talking to Instructors 

I get intimidated by all my instructors. I am always too nervous to ask questions or visit face-to-face during office hours.   

Recently, that veil of superiority I bestowed on my professors has been lifted.  

Watching them trying to figure out Zoom, making mistakes on Canvas while they try to convert their lessons online, or having their internet go down in the middle of a lecture has made them more (figuratively) approachable and more human.  We are all adapting to this new experience together.   


As mentioned earlier, finding parking is horrendous. 

Unless you want to risk losing your parking spot or you have multiple classes back to back, you are most likely not going to leave campus when you get hungry.  

I never know where to eat. I spend most of my break wandering around campus trying to find a spot to sit. I dislikeAll Categories the environment inside the Runner Café and avoid eating in close proximity to other people.  

Although I admit the food options have gotten better, you want to know what’s better than eating Panda Express on campus? Eating Panda Express off campus. 

Campus Events 

I know it exists, and I have observed a handful of events here and there. But does anyone actually enjoy participating?  

It could be my bitterness talking, but I don’t miss seeing groups of people, who have more free time than I do, playing tug-a-war, or whatever games ASI planned with my tuition funds. 

Then again, my school spirit could use improving. I don’t even know how to do that Roadrunner hand symbol they taught us all in orientation. 


I paid $385.55 in Student Union/SRC Fees this semester. 

Hey CSUB, since none of can be on campus…can we have some of that money back? 


This is not a criticism of the library building; I prefer working there than in my bedroom. But I don’t miss going up and down multiple floors trying to find a desk or unoccupied study room.  

And why are students still talking loudly and laughing? We’re all adults and should be past this point. 

Now with virtual learning, you all can be obnoxious on your own time.  

The Students (one more thing) 

Why is it always the people with the worst taste in music that play their music without headphones? Nobody thinks you are cool. Stop. 

Using the Restroom 

You all want to know what I did before my most recent Zoom lesson? I pooped.  

I am sure it is evident based on this list; I have several anxieties. But one I am sure others will understand is being unable to go “number two” in a public restroom. 

On a typical school day, I am away from home for about 15-16 hours. There is nothing I dread more than getting bubble guts in the middle of a class lecture. I contemplate whether it is worth leaving campus to drive home and will I make it to class in time, or if I should take ibuprofen and tough it out. 

Virtual learning has relieved me of this drama and shame.  

Walking to my car 

I don’t miss the exhaustion. 

I rarely feel stress-free while in school. Even if I complete all my assignments on time, in the back of my mind, there’s a lingering feeling that I’m forgetting something. The long walk back to the car should mark the end of the day’s responsibilities, but I know there is more work waiting for me when I get home.  

I understand wanting that separation from school and home, but as someone who has spent so much time away, it is nice to be in a safe environment where I am only a few steps away from my bed. 

Now instead of a dreaded march across campus to my car, I simply log off.