How Online Learning Has Made Spring Fever Worse than It's Ever Been Before

The weather is finally getting bearable, at least in Boston. I have traded heavy winter coats for light spring jackets and I could not be happier. But, there’s one thing that’s stopping me from enjoying the nice weather outside: Zoom.

As we all know, COVID-19 has ushered in a new era of online education. Not only is learning over Zoom incredibly hard, but it also makes it incredibly difficult to go outside. When I sit down at my computer to join a Zoom class, I get pulled into the world of my computer and sometimes forget to take any breaks or go outside. The overwhelming amount of screens we all stare at each day is already making us depressed, and nice weather is a very welcome escape from technology. But how are we expected to go outside when we’re obligated to sit in Zoom class all day?

people on zoom call Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels In non-pandemic times, spring fever usually amounts to sitting in a classroom and sadly looking out the window, wishing we could be outside and not in a musty classroom. Normally, spring fever is simply the feeling of excitement for the beginning of warm weather and the restlessness of being stuck in a school building. But now, spring fever is so much worse.

This time, we are not just stuck in a classroom wishing we were outside — we are stuck inside our own homes and apartments. The worst part is knowing that we can go outside, but remaining held back by our computers (it’s just so tempting to close them and stick them in a drawer). It’s very hard to find the motivation to stay present in a Zoom class, especially now that spring is in full swing. So, when the only thing standing in between us and the great outdoors is a laptop, spring fever is made even worse because we feel guilty for being inside our homes when we could so easily be outside.

It is possible to do a Zoom class sitting outside; however, it can come with many difficulties. First, you have to find an empty space outside that’s relatively quiet. So at Boston University, that usually rules out the “beach” as we like to call it (which is really just our only green area), the lawn outside the College of Communication, or the outside area of the student union building. Additionally, on most nice days you cannot even find an empty table in any of these places. If by some chance you actually do find an empty, quiet spot, the next step is getting a good Wi-Fi connection — which is rare, but certainly possible. Then, the next step is to begin your Zoom class, which might be hard with the glare of the sun on your laptop screen. And if you like to take notes in a notebook like I do, it’s near impossible to do when the wind is whipping around the pages in your notebook. By the end of the class, you’re annoyed that you didn’t just sit inside your dorm where there is no glare from the sun or wind to bother you. So yes, it’s possible to sit outside on Zoom, but it’s not very fun and isn’t necessarily a cure for spring fever.

So now we’re all left to sit inside our dorms all day and look outside wistfully as we sit on our laptops and stare at Zoom. But when we do finally get those breaks in between classes, it feels so good. In between classes, I try to go on long runs or walks to just enjoy the nice weather that we’re finally getting. Weekends are also always great, but can feel too short. By the time I actually get to sit outside and take in the warmth, it’s already Sunday night and I have to sit at my computer again to finish all my weekend homework.

woman sitting in front of Macbook Photo by energepic.com from Pexels So yes, sitting inside during the spring is a downer, but there are some ways to combat that pesky spring fever. A fantastic way to get outside and take a break from your screen is to exercise. I’ve started to go on runs in between Zoom classes a few times a week just to get outside and keep my body healthy. Obviously, sitting inside at a computer all day is not good for your physical or mental health, so getting outside to go on a run or walk is a great way to take a break and get some exercise at the same time. Arden Grant (Boston University ‘23) says, “Running helps me clear my mind and forget all of my worries for even just 20 or 30 minutes. This pandemic has brought so many new anxieties, so getting outside and being active definitely helps me escape.”

Along the same lines, a good way to take a break and enjoy the warm weather is to get out and do a fun activity. At BU, Bluebikes gives students discounts on bike rides, so I try to get a bike and go around the city as much as I can (it’s great exercise too). Biking is a quick and fun way to enjoy the fresh air. In addition, if you want to get off campus and do some exploring, renting a Zipcar is a great way to see some new places outside of your campus that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to go to. Zipcar also offers student memberships, which I have definitely taken advantage of. I’ve used Zipcar to drive to hiking reservations, cute New England towns, beaches, apple picking orchards, and even haunted houses!

car mirror reflection Photo by Michael Skok from Unsplash When it comes down to it, what we all really need is for this semester to end and for summer to begin. Hopefully next school year we won’t even have to open Zoom. I know once the time comes, I’ll be deleting the application from my laptop in the hopes we never use it again.

So, in the meantime, the most we can do is patiently wait for our vaccines and await summer’s arrival.