With COVID cases on the rise and more school closures across the country, virtual school is once again becoming the new norm. Personally, I haven’t gone back to school since March.
For the past months, myself and other students around the globe have had to rely on Zoom meetings and FaceTime to supplant physical school and face to face interactions. Of course, every school and student must be dealing with online instruction differently, but below are some struggles I have encountered while participating in online schooling and some ways that I have been able to overcome those challenges and develop new skills. Hopefully you’ll find them useful, as well!
- Teachers’ limited availability
Most teachers are nice, helpful, and have been trying their hardest to cope with the current unprecedented situation just like us. Still, it was really hard for me to get in contact with some of my teachers after school hours: some had to care for their toddlers, who couldn’t go to daycare, while other teachers had to prepare for our next virtual class. With eight months of experience under my belt, I kind of get the gist of it now, but at the beginning, there were times I was lost for the entirety of the lesson! I didn’t know where to start or what to ask when the teacher said, “any questions?” However, this state of complete confusion had its pros too: I was motivated to become more self sufficient and search for resources outside of school to supplement my learning. So, if you learned something new on your own accord, you should be more proud of it! It’s hard to learn something new, so give yourself a pat on the back 😀
At the beginning, because I didn’t have my friends right next to me, I didn’t know if they were just as lost as I was. I could have texted them: “did you get Calculus today?” or “what are we doing in History?” Nevertheless, to do that repeatedly is kind of cumbersome and annoying – if I can’t be of help to my friends, the least I can do is to not be an inconvenience. However, here is a short disclaimer: DO NOT THINK YOU’RE A BURDEN TO YOUR FRIENDS. If you think you are a burden or being annoying to that friend, most of the time, you are overthinking. If they think that you’re crossing the line, then they’d probably tell you directly or drop hints. But before that, do not assume anything – that can make you unnecessarily stressed and make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells. Especially during these times, we have to rely and be supportive to one another. As a lot of people say, think of it as physical distancing and not social distancing. Though it’s different from face to face interactions, people can always virtually “meet up” for a study session or Kahoot. So the point here is, don’t hesitate to reach out to friends and let the word “social distancing” get to you. Who knows? Your friend might be hesitating to reach out to you too.
- Lack of motivation
In my opinion, the fact that home became school is the best and worst thing that happened this year. Pros: I can get a little more shut eye (because I don’t need to drive 5-10 minutes to go to school, get up earlier to eat breakfast, or dress up) and am generally freer to do what I want (i.e. eat during class). Cons: a great lack of motivation.
Generally, there are two types of motivation: external and internal. External motivation can largely bolster and ignite our internal motivation: seeing others work hard and teachers encouraging us can inspire us to push ourselves and bring ourselves to meet higher expectations. However, because I spend all my time at my house, it’s generally become harder for me to get any type of motivation – no external because my environment and the people I see are the same 24/7, and no internal because the autonomy of daily life has made it harder for me to envision and want change. Still, Ted Talks, past memories and pictures, and going out for walks have helped me tremendously.
It’s important to try and remember that nothing is ever constant. As with all things past, these unprecedented times will pass and become mere memories. So, although online school is quite challenging, you have the power to choose how it’ll be engraved in your mind. Though it’s hard, I encourage you to think about the positives that online school and the past year as a whole has brought. For me, I got to spend more time with my family and learned new things about them. I also did a little bit of soul searching and got to know more about myself as well.
Just know that you are always in control – even on days that you don’t feel like it. You have the ability to make the most out of any situation – no matter how challenging or frustrating it is. You got this; don’t let online school make you think otherwise.