Learning on the fly

How athlete schedules have been effected by the pandemic

Sitting behind a computer screen for hours a day was not commonplace in education before last semester; now, it is the norm, and student-athletes have varied opinions about it.

There have been many pros and cons to having online courses, but many athletes have taken the change to online courses in different strides. While it has forced everyone to change their schedule, for some that change has been for the better.

Carson Murley, a senior offensive lineman on the football team, has come to enjoy online learning.

“It’s really nice because it’s given me a lot of free time to work out when I need to,” Murley said. “I can wake up, have more time to eat right in the mornings, and get my daily routine established.”

Murley has two classes online and one in-person. Although he likes his online classes, he also enjoys having some face-to-face interaction with other students and doing some hands-on learning.

Unlike other students, Murley transitioned to online learning last semester relatively easily. He previously had taken two online classes and said that those helped him “a ton.”

“The big thing was making sure I set aside time to get all my work done when I had all this free time at home,” Murley said. “I took those classes in the summer so I wasn’t exactly at school, so I learned to set aside time which I think was what helped me the most through all this. I needed to make time to just sit down, close all the distractions, and get the homework done.”

The one problem Murley has with online classes is the timing of school and practice. He lives at home, so he is often late to practice because his morning classes do not allow him time to get to campus early for practice. Instead, he must travel to campus from home after his classes end.

For some athletes, though, online courses have become more of a detriment to athletes’ schedules. To junior cross-country runner Callie Delaney, there are more challenges than opportunities. For her, online learning has made balancing everything in her life more of a struggle.

“It’s made it more difficult because there’s more time management that I have to balance,” Delaney said. “When I’m in person, I have a class here and then I have practice. Now I have to plan more of my schedule which has been a little hard.”

Delaney, who has just one class in person this semester, felt that online classes make it more difficult for her to be mentally focused on both school and athletics. She noted that her life would be “much more stressful” if she had a normal season of cross country at the same time as online schooling.

The switch from in-person classes to online learning last semester was especially tough for Delaney, who had not taken online classes prior to the spring. She realized that planning out her time was much more important, and the online portion of last semester prepared her for the fall.

“I’ve handled it pretty well,” Delaney said. “This semester has been nice with classes because the professors are very clear with what needs to be done and have a very efficient way to deliver the information.”

Sitting in online classes all day can make it tough to focus, especially at home. Delaney felt that she had a much tougher time taking online classes at home because she was the only one doing schoolwork. This semester, her roommates also have homework which makes it easier for her to sit down and get her work done.

Neither Delaney nor Murley has virtual team meetings right now. For Delaney and her cross-country team, they practice three times a week lifting and running. Murley and the football team tried to have meetings over Zoom to watch film but had to stop due to technical difficulties getting all the players connected. Instead, they lift and condition while working on their technique and learning plays.

 Murley was excited to chase another GLIAC ring and national title run in his final season of football at Ferris. However, like Delaney and the rest of Ferris athletes, he will just have to wait for that chance.