Teen Talk: How Online Learning has Changed Students Forever

By Alex Oh and Members of the Teen Advisory Committee

“Two weeks off from school? I could use a quick break right now,” I thought to myself when we left the school building on March 13, 2020, for what we didn’t know might be one of the last times. Quickly, weeks turned into months, and now almost one whole year.

Going into my senior year of high school, simply put, this isn’t what I expected. Our lives have changed from sitting in front of the chalkboard with our friends to sitting alone in front of our laptops. Student-teacher interactions are as minimal as ever, and many students have never even seen one another.

Well, not all is bad. With every change comes positive developments as well. No more waking up at 6 a.m. to get ready for school. No more walking out in sub-freezing temperatures to get to school. To get a better idea of our experiences, I reached out to each of our TAC members for their input.

Trinity: “It’s been hard staying connected – we used to see all our friends and teachers every day, and now we’re lucky if we even get to see a classmate’s face, much less hear their voice. Getting more sleep has been great though; it’s much easier to be attentive and engaged when you’re not half asleep.”

Maddie: “Not having sports has also been a struggle with online school, as that takes away from being social and active. Having a later start time has definitely been nice though!”

Arthur: “Online school has been a struggle. It’s so much harder than learning in person. But we’re on the home stretch now. Just a little bit more and we will eventually be done with the pandemic!”

Jennifer: “I really enjoy having a later start time, but it kind of feels like I’m doing the exact same thing every day and it’s becoming a little tiring.”

Serena: “While it has been tough not being able to see students and teachers in person, I am grateful that we can still have the opportunity to connect with each other online through these difficult times.”

To me, the saying, “We don’t truly appreciate what we have until it’s gone,” really shines through. Sure, school may have been a drag at times both in person and online, but maybe someday we will miss our extra sleep just as we miss our friends and classmates today.

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