Hannah Rosenberg / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Students turn to online courses for the summer.

May 10, 2020

As Job Market Dries Up, Students Turn Towards Online Courses

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As the odds of landing a summer job or internship grow dimmer with each day, many University students have instead opted to enroll in Cornell’s now online Summer Session.

Originally torn between working or taking summer classes, Emily Harmon ’23 ultimately decided for the latter with Physics 2213: Electromagnetism and Math 2930: Differential Equations for Engineers. As a prospective mechanical engineering major, Harmon wanted to take classes over the summer to free up her schedule to work towards a minor in aerospace engineering.

“With the state of the world, finding a job seemed difficult if not impossible, and so I want to use the time to be productive and improve some aspect of myself that will help my career prospects further on,” Harmon told The Sun.

Harmon also added that her decision to take summer classes from the safety of her own home will lower her family’s coronavirus risk.

“My dad is 60 years old right now, so he falls into a population that would be higher risk if he were to be exposed,” Harmon said. “This allows me to keep [my parents] a little bit safer.”

For other students, the possibility of going abroad next spring has influenced their decision to take part in summer courses.

Sammy Malhotra ’22 had originally planned on taking Economics 1120: Introductory Macroeconomics while working for Student Agencies in Ithaca this summer, but now is uncertain over where he will be in the coming months.

“I wanted to go abroad next spring, but I looked at my schedule and I thought it would probably be a better idea to knock another credit off just to leave the study abroad [option] open,” Malhotra said.

Although Malhotra is now uncertain whether his study abroad program will actually take place, he mentioned that taking a course online “takes off the burden of the school year.”

Other students took their departure from campus and time at home to reevaluate their coursework, deciding to take advantage of Cornell’s summer programs. For instance, Annie Rogers ’23 will be starting the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity.

“When I got home, I realized that I kind of wasn’t super happy with my coursework, and I wasn’t looking forward to it as much as I think I should be in my college career,” Rogers said.

With the unpredictability of internships during the pandemic, Rogers did some research and applied for the Milstein Program while at home. She was accepted last week.

According to their website, students who are part of the Milstein Program undertake an education in both the liberal arts and sciences, as well as spend two summers at Cornell Tech in New York City.

“I’m definitely glad that I was able to take the time to kind of pause and reflect, which I don’t think we would’ve been able to do had we have none of this happen,” Rogers said. “I don’t even know if I’d be in this program had none of this happened, and I’m glad that I definitely got something good out of it.”

Though part of the Milstein Program originally had students working with faculty and other students at Cornell Tech in New York City, Rogers will now be participating through online workshops for an hour and a half on weekdays.

Despite the change in plans, Rogers noted that the Milstein Program has been “really flexible” in making accommodations for all students.

“I think that this is a great way to take advantage of this uncertain time with something that is certain,” Rogers said.