BY: CLAIRE KIM
Given the intense amount of screen-viewing, online material, and use of technology for my classwork, I am excited to see my school take on a hybrid learning model in the coming months of the school year. As many people have probably stated, distance learning is basically online learning. Thus, under such circumstances, students like myself are left with no choice but to use technological platforms in order to succeed despite the severe inconveniences and consequences such overuse of technology may have on us.
Since learning online for the past year now, I have been physically impacted in a number of ways: my eyesight has significantly worsened, my mental health has been at an all time low, and my overall health has declined as well. It’s become a norm for me to wake up with burning eyes, feeling drowsy in classes because of the lack of engagement that online learning stimulates. In short, I’m tired of distance learning, and I just want to go back to school…
Though, I have to admit, there is a part of me that dreads attending school as well…
For starters, the thought that I won’t be able to socialize the way I used to in the past discourages me from wanting to be on campus with those I used to bond with. The sheer awkwardness that may come from standing six feet apart with masks on, barely able to make sense of each other through momentary eye raises and shifts in tone stresses me out, almost to the point that I question whether staying at home may allow for better interaction instead. Though we are barred by a screen, at least we can talk comfortably and understand one another without the hindrances that social distancing on campus demands.
Another aspect of in-person learning that saddens me is the lack of genuine excitement that will fill the atmosphere of the classroom. As a student, I’ve always loved learning at school because of the loud chatter and fun fishbowl discussions we had altogether. Though relatively independent with my work, I enjoyed hearing other students’ curiosities and perspectives with the presented material as it allowed me to become more excited with the discipline. The prospect of sitting alone in the classroom and being weary of in-class conversation is saddening to some extent.
Perhaps, one of the greatest disappointments I will probably face with the newest model of in-person learning, however, is the fact that I won’t be able to build on my student-teacher relationships. Obliged to stay apart and utilize Zoom sessions to communicate with my teachers, I foresee a senior year that won’t be as relational with my professors as it was before. I will have to learn to accept the lack of informal engagement that I used to indulge in in the past, making use of emails and Zoom conversations to get to know my teachers just a little bit better. So long to the quick good mornings in the hallways and coffee run-ins on the way to class.
*Featured Image: by Claire Kim