Remote Fordham Students Describe Their Experiences Studying at Home


Some Fordham students remain at home over a year after the COVID-19 pandemic first forced the university to close residence halls and move classes online. (Courtesy of Flickr)

It has been over a year since Fordham first sent students packing as COVID-19 spread rapidly across New York City. For many students, this unexpected homeschooling experience lasted only until the following fall semester, during which students were able to return for hybrid instruction at campus — with added restrictions to ensure safety. However, some students never returned to campus. Instead, they have spent the last year participating in classes online, off campus and far removed from the typical college experience. 

Tyler Chimento, FCRH ’24, is one of these students. When asked about his experience as a stay-at-home-student the past 12 months, Chimento said he has enjoyed studying from home from an academic perspective. 

“It’s definitely less stressful for me to join a zoom as opposed to being in a classroom setting, and I enjoy being able to do work on my own schedule without the pressure of going to in-person classes everyday,” said Chimento.

However, other Fordham students have found classes from home to be more challenging. “It’s very difficult to stay motivated from behind a screen, and it is much easier to take breaks, so I’m not sure it’s been very good for my schooling,” said Ryann Chandler, FCRH ’22. 

Chandler said that she believes Fordham professors are doing their best to help students learn in these difficult circumstances. “You can tell that professors are doing their best,” she said. “Most of them even offer an ear if we need to talk about how COVID is affecting us. I really appreciate it, because COVID has surely affected them and their families too.”

According to these stay-at-home students, the ability to get involved on campus depends on whether they were involved before the pandemic-induced lockdowns.

Chandler, who has been the Fordham Theatrical Outreach Program’s outreach coordinator for two years, said she is still involved with campus life while at home. 

“[The Theatrical Outreach Program] is working hard to continue in a fashion as close to normal as possible. For this reason, I stay very up-to-date on Fordham and New York COVID policies,” she explained. 

Still, Chandler expressed sadness at not being able to see her fellow club members face to face. “It’s a tad depressing to be doing so much work to keep things running smoothly on campus when I’m at home,” she explained. “But I’m glad to know that my friends and club members have an outlet for their stress and a community to turn to for support because we haven’t let COVID prevent us from being there for one another.”

Freshmen and other students that previously had no exposure to campus life may find it harder to connect with the Fordham community, explained Chimento. 

“I think it’s been more difficult to get involved in the community as there aren’t many activities/groups that are directed towards online students,” he said. “I’ve definitely still been able to make friends through different group chats and social media, and I’ve gotten closer with some people in my classes on Zoom. A lot of students are going through the same social struggles of being online, so it’s easier to understand that you’re not alone and can form a bond through that.”

Fordham announced its intention to resume regular in-person instruction during the fall semester in March, providing a glimpse of hope to students who long for the pre-pandemic way of life on campus. Until then, stay-at-home students continue to take on the college experience from their bedrooms across the country.