Uncertainty and reduced free time concern students going to campus for the first time in the fall


With the planned shift to in-person learning for fall 2022, some students are concerned about what the move will mean for their time and finances.

Allee Bruni, a first-year Graphic Design student at Red River College Polytechnic, has yet to visit the Exchange District Campus after a full year of remote learning. She’s used the extra time as an opportunity to take on more freelance work and shifts at her part-time job.

“The commute taken out of it really helps. When you’re finished class at 4:00, you’re done at 4:01. When you’re in person, you have to account an extra hour for commuting,” said Bruni.  “That’s an hour I could do school work or freelance.”

Bruni said she expects she’ll need to reduce her work hours and freelance projects to accommodate a return to campus.

“I’ll definitely have to just work weekends only once we go back in-person,” said Bruni. “I don’t want to have to turn down any freelance opportunities, but I’ll need to keep school as a priority.”

Allee Bruni completes a graphic design illustration in The Forks Market on April 21. Remote learning has allowed students like Bruni more freedom in where they can work and complete assignments./STEPHEN BENNETT

Some students are hesitant to abandon a hybrid learning model and are wondering about the timing of the college’s decision, especially with rising gas prices.

“I was fortunate enough to have a blended learning model,” said Keenan Gauthier, a first-year Carpentry Apprentice student. “When we were remote, I did personally benefit. It’s a 30-minute commute to the college, so I saved on time, gas, mileage, and cafeteria expenses.”

Gauthier has been offsetting increased costs of living by rooming with family, but he said he can’t escape the added cost at the pump.

“The increasing gas prices have made a noticeable impact. I own a truck and to fill up is one and a half times more,” said Gauthier.

Another factor is the lingering uncertainty surrounding the fall term. Gauthier said he isn’t confident the college will fully return to in-person, and Bruni said she is wary after the last-minute change to the winter 2022 semester.

“Everything changed on a dime last term, and the very same thing could happen again,” said Bruni. “The fact that I don’t know what to expect in the fall definitely adds a little anxiety.”

In the meantime, Bruni said she has adopted a “wait and see” approach and expects an awkward adjustment period, especially for students who have only learned remotely.

RRC Polytech is currently committed to in-person learning in the fall and said it will adjust plans as the situation with COVID-19 continues to evolve.