Thoughts On The First Semester Of Online Learning

This semester has been one of the most difficult semesters yet. There have been many good and bad things. Everything is online and it has been very hard to navigate and to try to stay focused.

Article & Photo By: Jaden Burris

Congratulations! Students are coming to the end of their first official online semester. If I am being completely honest, I can think of more negative things about distance learning than positive. So let’s talk about it. 

One of the main issues I have is staying focused and motivated. Being home all the time and having to motivate myself is difficult. Before school went online, I would go to school, listen to my teachers and get my work done at school so I could do nothing when I went home. Now that isn’t the case anymore. I have to learn on my computer at home, do my work at home and try to stay focused at home. We have been in school for four and a half months and I am still struggling. Something else that bothers me about having school online is being on Zoom. I understand that teachers want us to participate in class and with each other, but putting us in breakout rooms, for the most part, isn’t helping. Half of my teachers get very upset when they join a breakout room and see that all of our cameras are off and we are all muted. I understand they want us to talk to each other, but it is kind of difficult when we are in breakout rooms with people we have never talked to before and at that point, we all just want to work individually.

I have noticed some positive things though. I think teachers are being a lot more organized with how they are assigning work. These last couple of weeks, some of my teachers have lightened up their load on students when they figured out that they were assigning way to many things at the same time. I also hope teachers keep using Google Classroom after the pandemic is over. I didn’t enjoy taking pictures and writing down assignments when they could just enter it into Google Classroom and I can see it from there. 

Now, another important thing to talk about is student and teachers’ mental health. I can say from personal experience that being at home, learning and being by myself is really affecting me in terms of my mental health and emotional state overall.  Before the pandemic, I know that not many people enjoyed going to school everyday. I know I didn’t. Waking up and going to school was just a lot for me, but nowadays I would gladly go back to regular school than keep doing distance learning. 

Now as far as I can tell, we will continue distance learning until the end of the year which of course isn’t ideal. At least we can say we know how the beginning of the next semester will be, but I think most students can’t wait until we are back in the classrooms and back to normal life, because as many of us know, distance learning is not an ideal situation for maintaining relatively good mental health along with learning in general.

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