Issues with online only learning

Anna Schenkel

Online school. Some love it, some hate it, but it’s what 2020 has brought us. After being online only for the first two months of school, I’ve found that personally in the online only method, the downsides heavily outweigh the benefits.

I recently made the change from being online only to going hybrid starting in November. My family chose for me to originally stay at home due to safety precautions, it wasn’t an easy decision, but it was a necessary one. At the beginning of the year, I assumed being fully online wouldn’t be so bad. After all, I had survived the end of my junior year just fine and now the teachers would have more experience and a better plan walking in. However, after two weeks, I realized how wrong I was.

My ability to focus was gone. Suddenly, my phone was right beside me for every class. I began to procrastinate every assignment to the last possible minute. I work or attendactivitiesalmosteverynight

after school, but instead of adjusting my sleep schedule like I would during a typical year, I continued to stay up late and started to take naps during breaks that could’ve been productive to compensate.

I began to feel isolated from my classmates. I didn’t realize how much I would miss the little, funny moments in class and socializing with my friends in a school setting. Sure, I texted people and hung out with friends on weekends— in a socially distant manner, of course, but it wasn’t the same.

Similarly, my lack of focus and isolation slowly showed in my grades and understanding of the material. When you aren’t present for a physics lab, it’s hard to understand what the lab is trying to show you. When I did have questions, I didn’t know what to do. As someone who detests raising their hand in class, I’d normally approach the teacher privately, but I’m not the biggest fan of concepts being explained through email and unmuting myself makes me want to throw up. That left me trying to follow along as complicated topics just became more complicated, which, surprise surprise, didn’t work out.

Let’s just say I’m glad Xavier got rid of quarter grades. I don’t write this article to blame anyone for online learning. I had many opportunities to unmute myself in class and put my phone down, which I understand and take responsibility for. Every teacher at Xavier is trying their best, but there’s only so much that can be done through Zoom. I appreciate Xavier for providing options for families and I’m truly glad they did so everyone can be in a comfortable learning environment. There are benefits to online learning during hybrid and some people enjoy it more than others. Getting to choose your own schedule and working at your own pace can be beneficial for some. But for me, it was a constant, anxious struggle that began to affect my mental health. You have to listen to what your body and mind are telling you. Although I tried to ignore the repetitive red flags that online only wasn’t working for me and consistently pretended like everything was fine, it backfired in the end. It’s valid to ask for help. It’s valid to struggle. It’s valid to realize that you have to change some things in your life to feel better. What works for other people might not work for you and that’s okay. Sometimes you have to make hard decisions for the best outcome. You have to make the best decision for yourself.