A Student Perspective
By Devonny Grajeda
Salvador Zambrano, a former graduate student from CNM and CNM Chronicle employee started his CNM experience in 2018.
He attended CNM in hopes of pursuing an associate degree in Nursing.
Going into the last semester of his second year COVID-19 hit, which resulted in him taking long distance classes he said.
He remembers being at work in March of 2020 and his boss, the former Director for parking at CNM said employees would not be at work the next day.
Since he knew he would have a three-day weekend he took the opportunity to go home which was in Roswell, NM he said.
On his first day off he was informed that CNM had announced the school would be shutting down until further notice by order of then current CNM President Tracy Hartzler.
Mr. Zambrano then ended up staying in Roswell for the next four months due to COVID-19.
With all of these occurrences he had to convert his entire schooling to learning online.
“Doing all of my classes on-line is hard since I am more of a hands on kind of guy,” he said.
It can be challenging when it comes to self-teaching because most of the time the lectures were pre-recorded and if you had any questions for the instructor you had to send an email and wait for a response, he said.
Compared to in-person classes where a student can receive an answer immediately, he said.
In the beginning of the transition from online to in-person classes’ teachers may have struggled a bit more then the students, he said
“Those poor teachers had to create plans from scratch for online teaching in such a short period of time, a matter of days really,” he said.
Mr. Zambrano said his history teacher at the time informed the class that he was not sure if he could convert the class to a on-line teaching format because he was not tech savvy.
The instructor for the class had never even used blackboard and he was worried he would lose his job and be forced into retirement, he said.
Mr. Zambrano said, “I was excited to be online because I didn’t have to attend physical classes, however eventually it became draining constantly teaching myself. Online classes and in-person classes are not the same, they truly are completely different environments.”
Being able to see and interact with people was a huge difference between in-person and online classes, he said.
Through two years of online learning Mr. Zambrano said his grades took a big hit, before COVID-19 he was averaging A’s and B ’s and after COVID-19 he became a C student who could barely get by.
It was even more challenging for him because he was nearing end for his basic classes for a nursing major, classes like anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biology, and microbiology were all classes he felt needed to be in person.
It was hard dealing with this new reality and he began to struggle a lot because of it, and it showed in his grades, he said.
“I know depression was a big thing, I feel like a lot of students like myself struggled with it because you were isolated. You didn’t get to see your family or friends and most of the time you were staring at a computer screen. Unless you were an essential worker you didn’t get much social interaction,” he said.
When it comes to online classes, personally he dislikes them, and he suggest people do their best to attend in-person classes said Mr. Zambrano.
To all online students he recommends they utilize all resources to help themselves get by, he said.
CNM’s resources have increasingly become better over the years since COVID-19 started and I suggest using them, he said.