By Angelica Niedermeyer
After learning remotely since my senior year of high school in March 2020, I am now approaching the first week of the second semester of my sophomore year back online. Online college means setting an alarm two minutes before Zoom class, hanging in late with roommates, and wearing pajamas all day.
For most teenagers, this might be relieving as we are perceived as lazy. However, if someone would have told me I was starting my fourth semester of college online after the lockdown, I would have cried. After losing months of in-person education, normal graduation and any form of prom, I am turning 20-years-old this year when I went into lockdown at 17.
Education is not the same when you have it online. It is so much easier to get distracted in the room when taking an online class. School is meant to be in person. But now we are paying thousands of dollars to teach it to ourselves aka asynchronous. Comparatively to in person, it is seemingly impossible to learn new information online.
When teachers give mass amounts of material to learn and then on top of that add homework, it becomes way more loads of work stuck behind a screen for an unhealthy amount of hours. All I want to do is meet people in my classes and have actual discussions with them. I miss seeing people’s faces and their expressions in response to mine. I miss learning through communicating with group collaboration as opposed to online discussion posts.
Being online is not positive for mental health. When classes are online, it is harder to get motivated to leave the dorm. It becomes a must to leave even if it is cold outside to have a change of scenery. This is not even talking about eating, social life, and exercise. When classes are online, life is online at college. Having the dining hall grab and go eliminates the social part of eating meant for human beings.
Although going online for the first week is a smart decision with the rise in Covid-19 Omicron cases after the holidays, it is now apparent that I will never have a normal school year as long as we are in this pandemic. Now, we are back to in-person classes, but before I had a fear that going back online for classes was foreshadowing, like a repeat of the two weeks off we were given in March 2020 and then never returned. This realization is the sad truth of what education has become, as long as there still is Covid-19, it is now normal to possibly be put online for that class, interview, or telehealth session.
Interestly enough, after a fall semester fully in person, it was frustrating when there was not even an option to have remote learning at the convenience when students or teachers tested positive. Time will only tell what is going to come in the future with this virus.
Thankfully the quarantine protocols are newly changed as the CDC shared that the once 14 days and then 10 are now only 5 days of isolation. This change makes it easier to jump back into life especially as the Omicron variant quickly spreads. My hope is that there is some more support as we still figure out how to live during these endless ‘unprecedented times’.