College During COVID-19: Daniel Arrington

The Class of 2020 had a fair share of disappointments, being the first to experience the cancelation of many memorable high school experiences. Daniel Arrington was a part of the HCS Class of 2020 and now attends Los Angeles Valley College. He shares his thoughts on being in college during these times.

Daniel Arrington had attended Heritage since the seventh grade and unfortunately his graduation was the most difficult event to lose from his senior year. He explains, “We worked hard for it and graduation would’ve been the most memorable of the events. I was also looking forward to the big celebration that was supposed to happen afterwards.” When asked if this disappointment seems to be as big of a deal as it was in the moment, Arrington said, “It’s not as upsetting now, because there is nothing that can be done, but it’s still a moment I won’t fully experience.” 

He thinks that senior year being cut short was more devastating than a less than perfect start to college. Arrington’s reasoning is that, “With senior year being cut short, I missed the last events and moments with my friends to finish off high school. Also in college I still have at least one in person class, and there is still a chance to get the full experience in the next years of college.”

Speaking of college, Arrington is now a freshman at Los Angeles Valley College. Luckily, he originally planned to attend LAVC and live at home, so COVID-19 did not impact his situation. Arrington is majoring in Public Health, and will get an Associates Degree in Fire Technology in order to eventually become a fireman. 

Among his classes, Arrington has the opportunity to attend an in person Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) class. Upon being asked to describe this class and the restrictions it entails, he states, “The EMT class is fun and is refreshing in all the online classes. Our restrictions are everyday temperature taking, hand sanitizer stations are all over the campus, we need to wear masks, and the professor does get frustrated when the social distance rules aren’t followed. We are able to do cool activities with hands-on practice with medical equipment. The professor was hoping things would improve by now so the hands-on learning was pushed to be towards the end of the semester, but now that it hasn’t we need to wear gloves and sanitize the medical equipment.” For this class he must also do ride alongs, when he goes with ambulances, where he must wear goggles, a face shield, and the special mask.

When comparing in person and online learning, Arrington prefers the EMT class. Although the online courses’ material comes easier to him, when it comes to understanding the information, it is easier to do so in the classroom setting. Upon being asked if he has found it difficult to make friends due to the circumstances, Arrington says, “No, the EMT class has really helped, especially being in a study group for the class. We even celebrated together after passing the midterm recently.” This keeps things optimistic, even though as far as he knows LAVC will not be returning to back to normal for this year. 

As for the future, Arrington was questioned if he thinks that COVID-19 will affect his career path or how efficiently he reaches the end goal and he responded, “I don’t think so but at the beginning of the year I was worried about it delaying my plans because the EMT class was not confirmed to be available. It was not announced until several weeks before the start of the fall semester. The professor even spoke with the school authority to make the class available because it is not possible to teach it online. There are also other classes I need for the degree that are not available yet, such as Fire Tech Wildland Firefighter, and that could affect my plans.” Arrington also explained that in the EMT class students can only miss two lectures but if a student were to contract COVID-19, he or she would need to drop the class entirely, which has already happened to a fellow student.  But Arrington plans to finish out this year and looks forward to when circumstances improve.

Hopefully students of all levels will be able to resume in person learning, especially for Heritage’s Class of 2020. 

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