Zoom University… So much more than just school online

I started doing “zoom zoom” as I call it, in March, and I am finally ending my solely online school journey to go back to in-person learning next semester, which will be my last semester of college ever. I could not be more excited to be done with four-hour-long Zoom classes, endless sitting, and what seems like more work than I have ever done. 

 

When COVID first hit, we were told it would be “two weeks,” which turned into “two months,” and now it seems indefinite. Yet, the schooling still seems to be built as if the world is still normal, just online. It is not my normal class experience, but put online, the school does not reflect this.

 

I have never had more work until now. I have never been as stressed as I am now. And I have never felt less connected to my peers and teachers as I am now. It is like there is a lack of humanity where the work continues to be piled on, but there are notes telling us to “take care of our mental health” and “take time for ourselves” (I actually get these from professors). I cannot take a break to take care of myself when I have to do homework. 

 

All of my time spent at school depends on getting a job when I graduate. To give up now is not an option, so I am crawling over the finish line. I used to worry about deadlines for assignments and working outside of school. I still worry about all of those things, but now I worry about catching a deadly virus at work since I work with kids, my parents getting sick (they are older), and the rising number of cases where I live. Life is not as simple as it once was, and it never was. 

 

It all hit me this Thanksgiving Break, when I had three days “off.” I still had all the same homework and spent my time doing homework. I spent my entire birthday doing work and eating snacks because I did not have time to even eat a meal with my family. 

 

Why is it during a pandemic that school just continues like it once was? This should not be the case. In the beginning, there were lenient grades, opportunities for Pass/Fail, and understanding teachers. That is all gone, even though the situation has gotten worse.  

 

I am grateful to be able to be going back to school next semester, which will bring many other stressors, but so many others are unable to. I implore you all to find compassion for them, even though they are behind a screen and supposedly “just sit in front of a computer all day.” We are all battling far more than we know.