This Year vs. Last Year

Dhruthi Mahesh

Photo Credit: Lola Wenstrand

2020 has been a very interesting year so far. There’s been a global pandemic, a presidential election, and almost all schools were forced to retreat to a form of online school called distance learning, where students learn through online mediums. This naturally proposed many different challenges to high school students. 

Around 41% of students find distance learning harder than regular school, one reason being the inability to simulate what learning that subject would be like in school. In science and other STEM related subjects, students find that distance learning versions were less exciting and interactive than in person labs and activities, making the subject harder to understand and less exciting to learn. Students may also feel distanced from their friends and peers, and deprived of social interaction. 

With this new format of learning, there are several aspects that students don’t get to experience about regular school.  One thing most students miss, is seeing their friends. In regular in person school, students would see their friends almost every day, but with online learning, students aren’t able to interact with friends as much. Another aspect of in person school students appreciated was the convenience of being able to get help on hard concepts in class, and easily accessible tutorial timings. Students also wish they were able to make new friends and meet people easier, yet found it hard to interact in a Zoom session where they remain muted most of the time. 

One struggle students face is staying motivated throughout the week. Only 20% of Leigh Students said that they felt motivated to do school work and attend classes. Unlike a typical classroom, there are many distractions at home including family members, cell phones, and other electronic devices. Staying focused and paying attention during classes can be difficult with there are endless other activities that seem more exciting such as games and other applications. Students also said that they feel tempted to sleep longer than they should, because a bed was easily accessible to them. Along with having little motivation, stress levels, students also reported high stress levels while attempting to take all their classes online. Around 55% of students say that since the start of distance learning, they feel they have become more stressed about school. The uncertainty of this year, attempting to comprehend what is taught, and staring at a computer screen all day are all factors contributing to the rise in stress levels of students. 

With the new methods of teaching being implemented, there were several changes to the courses being offered and the way that certain subjects were being taught. Around 41% of people surveyed said that they got the classes they requested, and around 55% of students said that they actually enjoy attending their classes, and like their teachers. 

High stress levels, less motivation, and feeling distanced from friends and peers are all factors that come along with distance learning. Distance learning can be a very stressful experience for high school students, but it’s important to remain positive, and look at the bright side of everything. At the end of the day, distance learning is temporary and we can look forward to regular school eventually, whether it be next semester, or even next year. 

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