With COVID-19 bringing staggering changes to college life, some students decided to take time away from their studies.

The cost of remote classes and students’ feelings toward the effectiveness of online classes has led some to take a leave of absence from Kent State.

Mason Varns, sophomore Russian literature, culture and translation major, took the 2020-2021 school year off. “I left because I don’t want to be in debt or have my parents’ money being wasted on me sleeping through Zoom calls,” Varns said. 

Varns said he understands people’s need and determination to continue their education, but he had never taken an online course seriously in the past and didn’t want to spend his time or money on online learning.

Varns loved being on campus and plans on coming back “on my time when I can enjoy the experience.” Varns said he’ll come back when he’s able to have at least a few in-person classes every week, but until then he’ll continue working and saving money.

Gabe Mulé, senior vocal performance and psychology major, took the fall 2020 semester off but resumed classes on campus this semester. 

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Gabe Mulé took a gap semester in the fall because of COVID-19.

“The way that the classes were set up for my vocal major took away from the experience of it and the authenticity of performing in front of people,” Mulé said. He said there was a big difference when it came to things like exams; you can record and redo your performance as many times as it takes to get it right as opposed to having one shot in-person.

Mulé decided to return to classes this semester because “if I took more than one semester off it would’ve impacted my scholarship. So I was kind of pressured to go back into school even though COVID’s not over and it still takes away from the experience.”

According to KSU’s FAQ for Leave of Absence Policy page, the policy allows students to take up to one full year away from academics for any reason. Leave of absence can be necessary for traveling, a job opportunity, personal or family reasons or saving money.

“Mostly I just worked and did a lot of soul-searching,” Mulé said. “Like, do I really want to go back to college or do I want to give up on this and try to focus on some other career?”

Ethan Cohen is a COVID-19 reporter. Contact him at ecohen7@kent.edu.

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