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8-18 Media: Students face challenges amid pandemic

McBride, Anja

This year has been a challenge for everyone, but something that has been especially challenging for many students is online schooling. Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, school districts worldwide are working to keep students and staff safe while providing quality education. Specific measures were put in place to ensure the safety of everyone. These new safety measures include: Hybrid, online, or in person classes,the wearing masks inside buildings and around people, frequently sanitizing high touch surfaces and washing hands. While some student’s opinions may differ from mine, I find these transitions to be challenging. One of the most challenging things is adjusting to the workload that teachers give us. Whenever someone begins a new grade, they will have a significantly more considerable amount of daily work to complete and now as a hybrid student most of it is online.

Especially in high school, the amounts of work given to us can seem severely overwhelming for students like me who have trouble focusing for long periods. It looks like the technology layout makes a unit look like more work than it is. I know that part of the reason I have struggled to adjust to the difference in work amounts from freshman to sophomore year is that there is a big difference in the amount of work. Still, I sometimes envy the students who are entirely in person, taking their work day-by-day with a teacher sitting with them and guiding them through a confusing lesson. But I understand that my mom and I chose hybrid so that I could still get in-person assistance to improve my math skills, and the one thing I am grateful for this year is waking up at 11:30 a.m. instead of 6:30 a.m. The important thing for me to remember is that the less I work on it, the more I will have to do.

Something that is also difficult about the new lifestyle people have had to adjust to is limiting your social life. I have two friends that I am close with, and luckily we only live a few blocks apart, so I see both of them pretty often. All of our families quarantined well for the first several months of the pandemic, so we know when we see each other that with a few limitations, we can still enjoy each other’s company as we did before 2020 wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives. But my other friend I only see in school, and we were beginning to think about plans for hanging out outside of school when the pandemic took over. Now even though I am hybrid, and I am in school for sixth and seventh hour, and the occasional lunch period if I am early enough, she is entirely online, so I have not been able to hang out with her like I did every day for months last year. I realized that removing part of someone’s social life is a critical factor in their education when thinking about this.

Having a half-hour to sit and eat lunch surrounded by a group of friends can ease your mind and get you to stop thinking about academics for a moment, which can improve your mood and make the last few hours of your school day much easier. While I know I can’t change things, I sit and sometimes wonder what my life would be like if the pandemic had not thrown a wrench in the gears of life. I would be volunteering on the weekends, with frequent visits to the library. I would sit with Ellie every day at lunch, laughing and talking about what we did on the weekend.

I have also noticed that COVID-19 has caused quite a few conversations to become shorter than usual. I don’t know if this is a pro or con, but the pandemic has created a new conversation starter. It goes something along the lines of someone screaming into the telephone just how happy they are to hear from you. They are glad you are safe, and do you have any toilet paper because they sure don’t! You will realize that it is hard to answer the standard conversation starter, “What have you been up to lately?” You won’t know how to answer that unless you think they would be interested if you went into elaborate detail on the 20 something different Netflix shows you have been binging all day. They probably won’t, because they will tell you that they have already seen most of those, and don’t give any spoilers! But, there are a few tiny, well-hidden pros to the pandemic as well. For one, I don’t know if I will ever have kids, but I am sure I will know a few in my life. Then, I can dramatically tell them about the year where I was holed up at home just like the 7.5 billion other people on earth, and everyone was in danger of contracting a deadly virus if they went out in public without a mask on. And the pandemic has given everyone lifelong memories, and while I wouldn’t call them pleasant, they sure are memorable! I hope everyone is safe and healthy, and that your toilet paper shortage is coming to an end.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Anja McBride is a sophomore this year and loves to read and play tennis.

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