September 27th, 2019
All-virtual school virtually better
TUES. | 01-05-21 | OPINION
This semester, COVID-19 forced schools to implement the option of either learning completely virtual or participating in the hybrid plan. This decision was made based on the possible health hazards to students and staff if the school resumed at full capacity. My original plan was to stay in school for one week on and one week off, but this changed when one of my classmates tested positive at the end of the first week of school. After two weeks of quarantine, I was finally cleared to go back to school, only to discover it was my week off. I switched to all-virtual because I had already missed three weeks of school, and by that time I was starting to settle into virtual learning.
Graphic by Tierney Reardon
The first three weeks of being all-virtual were hard to adjust to. It was difficult for me to focus at home by myself. It was so easy to get distracted by every little thing around me, and the worst part was that I did not have anyone to keep me in check. My parents would come in every once in a while to make sure I was on task, but that was not nearly enough. Aside from distractions, procrastination has always been a struggle for me and going all-virtual only made it worse. Not all of my classes have a Zoom everyday and when I am not given a clear schedule, my mindset suffers. I go from knowing I have to get my work done during a specific time period, to thinking I have so much time to do it and I can push it back a few more hours. By thinking like this, I ended up waiting until the last minute and sometimes would not even get the work done.
About the fourth week in, I started to notice that my grades had been dropping, and I knew this was because of how bad my procrastination had gotten. I had no motivation and realized that I was falling behind in certain classes. Catching up and improving my grades was not easy, but I started seeing progress immediately after refining my time management and independent learning skills.
Even though it took me a while, I eventually started to get the hang of it. What helped the most was finding a schedule that worked for me. I would wake up, get ready for the day and then get set up and get to work. In establishing this rhythm I realized that I could use virtual learning to my advantage. I was allowed to learn at the pace I wanted and in the style of learning that worked best for me. I was able to adapt to unconventional learning environments, which is good practice for college.
After a few weeks, my grades started going back up which was a huge relief. I have really started to like online learning and it has been smooth sailing since overcoming these challenges. Overall, I think switching to virtual learning was a good decision for me. I would not choose to relive the problems that I encountered at the start, but I am glad I faced those challenges because it was a good learning experience for me. I improved so many skills that are needed to be successful and to do your best which will definitely be useful these next few years and prepare me for college.