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To Pass or To Fail? That Should Not Be the Question

by Anton Specht

As we roll through this delightful journey referred to as the “fall 2020 semester,” many students are still trying to become accustomed to what really is beginning to feel like a “new normal.” Online classes have become a staple. A decent chunk of the small portion of courses initially offered in-person have now reverted back to online, or either partial or full capacity.

We know it may be hard, but unlike the previous shortened spring semester, we knew this was coming. There is no substantial reason to believe we are deserving of any sort of academic leniency.

When we were all stripped away of our traditional schooling last spring, we entered uncharted territory. It was a dive into the unknown, a dark void of seemingly foreign ground. To compensate for the sudden change, Montclair State University offered a pass-fail option for courses. This meant that if students were not pleased with their grade in a class, they could choose to receive a universal “passing” grade, in which it would not affect their GPA at all, pending if they received any grade above an F.

This option was a breath of fresh air in the midst of the sudden changes that all of us were affected by. It was a very stressful time for everyone and it was a difficult adjustment to take our entire education online. The pass-fail option made sense and was important to have at the time, but not anymore.

Currently, there is a virtual petition circulating around the student body of Montclair State, calling for the administration to implement another pass-fail option for the fall 2020 semester.

Aforementioned, we were prepared for the circumstances of this semester. We had more than half of the spring to grow into this digital schooling format. Over the summer, professors catered and organized their courses to fit into online settings, something the courses were not designed for last semester. If you felt as though you could not handle a full semester of online schooling, then it may have been wiser to take the semester off, like thousands of students across the country have done.

It is valid to say that you could not do that because it would mess up your life schedule, or delay your chances of graduating and finding work. However, as of now, next semester is not likely to see much of a change, as many classes will still be held virtually. We can either adjust to this new form of education, or take a break until things get back to normal. We should not use the current circumstances as an excuse to not work as hard as we can.

We are not here to say that online schooling is the best option for education, but it is what we have been dealt. So let us use this current situation as an opportunity to better ourselves and prove we can power through any situation, regardless of the unfamiliarity. We, as students, can build off of this.

The pass-fail option petition being sent around right now should not be signed or sent to any administrative authorities. It is being used to open a loophole for students who are choosing to not put their best foot forward and persevere through this tough situation. This is a part of life, and once we are all out of college and enter the professional world, we will not be offered opportunities to idle by while reaching regular standards is entirely achievable.

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