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Students share virtual learning struggles

MON.| 02-15-21 | FEATURES

     As Rose students continue to progress throughout the second semester, many students have found that online learning presents challenges, not only academically, but also emotionally. Students are having to cope with the new normal and adjust to all of the challenges that come with it. 

     "In the beginning of the first semester, ... I started having anxiety about my grades and classes and overthinking a lot of things, like if I was even going to graduate,” senior Lihana Martinez said. “Things were getting hard.”

     Some virtual classes require students to be on their Zoom at a certain time each day, while other classes do not require daily sessions. Higher levels of dependence on technology this year has made it difficult for the many students who regularly experience technical issues, while some students are not able to join the class Zoom at the given time.

     “The internet went out in my neighborhood, actually this week for three days… so I missed a test yesterday, so I had to make it up today,” Martinez said. “I also couldn’t study... so I pretty much did the test without knowing a whole bunch of information.”

The Hidden Struggles of Online Learning.

Graphic by Ava Alger

     Students struggle with not being able to actually see their teachers and peers. They have found it hard to focus on a Zoom screen because they do not have the ability to interact as much as they would in a classroom. 

     “I would start to feel tired and I had a lot of trouble focusing,” Martinez said. “That made me not want to do anything because literally my eyes would sometimes be in pain… even if I got 10 hours of sleep or more.”

     Many students have been going through similar struggles due to the increased screen time. Martinez, however, was able to identify a partial solution to her struggles.

     “I now need glasses which helps me focus a lot better, but not because I was blind…[but] because my astigmatism was off and I was actually worsening my eyesight by looking at the screen so much,” Martinez said. 

     In addition to the physical challenges that come with online learning, students have also faced many emotional challenges. Both Martinez and junior Brena Gauland have found that turning to their religion has helped them through difficult times, such as these. Gauland particularly has begun intentionally praying for those around her. 

     “When I was going through this icky time, I knew that everyone was going through this too, so during my quiet time I was like ‘what can I be doing for other people,’ and so I started a prayer wall,” Gauland said. 

     Gauland receives prayer requests from other people through her social media. In her closet, she keeps sticky notes on a side of her wall, filled with people’s names and personal prayers. Being able to rely on her religion has been very valuable to her, and has inspired her to stay uplifted during this time. 

     “The Lord is not going to keep us in this season forever and being able to pray for other people, [I get to] see how their prayers have been answered, which encourages me to try harder [as well] to try in school,” Gauland said.

     Many students have seen a significant change in their grades since switching to either hybrid or all-virtual learning. Students believe that their motivation has not been the same as it was last spring. Creating the change in learning, students have discovered how it has affected their mental health. 

     “I definitely think I have not been as motivated as possible and seeing my grades drop a little bit has taken a toll on my mental health,” Gauland said.

     Students have struggled with not having human interaction as much as they’d like to. Gauland has found that being able to talk to someone who specializes in OCD and anxiety has been beneficial. 

     “I go to therapy and being able to talk to someone else, especially as someone who has OCD and anxiety, so already has some mental health struggles,” Gauland said.

     Both teachers and students are working to continue moving forward despite the hardships they have faced. Grace, whether that be on the part of the students or the teachers seems to be a common request.

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