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Flashback to March 2020: the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, quarantine was just known as a “two week break,” and students began their transition to e-Learning. As exciting as it seemed to have a break from waking up early and getting to class on time, students soon realized that learning at home would be a more permanent reality, but they didn’t know just how permanent it would become, and don’t really know, even still.
The pandemic has taken its toll on students across the globe. Trying to learn in a space where they do most of their relaxing is a difficult task. Developing a new routine without relying on a bell schedule to help the day along is harder than it seems. While e-Learning has been beneficial to some students, it has been a challenge for others. For the South Bend School System, the difference between last Spring’s e-Learning and this Fall’s e-Learning is very evident. Some think last Spring was easier, with a lighter workload and less restrictions, while others prefer this Fall’s e-Learning because the Google Meets make communication easier and everything is more organized.
Students have taken on different responses to e-Learning and have had different experiences with it. To get an idea of the effect e-Learning has had at Adams, I reached out to a few of our students to hear about their experiences. I asked them all to answer these questions: ‘
What was the transition between in-person classes and online classes like for you? Did you adjust easily? What did you struggle with?
How is e-Learning different this quarter compared to the end of last year? Is this quarter more difficult?
Are you returning in-person? What are you most looking forward to? What do you think the benefit of going back in person would be?
For this interview, I talked to Kay Strong, Emily Kidwell, and Anastazja Krostenko. Here’s what they had to say:
Kay (Class of 2021)
“The transition between in person and virtual was rough, mainly because I have a hard time focusing, especially if I’m not physically with the teacher. I struggled, or still struggle, with waking up on time and attending class because everything feels so optional. I feel like it’s a bit easier this year compared to the end of last because we are actually meeting on live meets and that makes things less messy. I am going back in person, mainly because it’ll help me focus more and make it easier to ask questions and interact with my teachers more. I am looking forward to being out of the house really, hopefully this will help my grades, at least a little bit.”
Emily (Class of 2022)
“The transition between in person and online was different, but smooth, for me. I adjusted easily, but I struggled with the online portion, it’s hard to stay at home and stay focused. This quarter was a lot more unorganized to me because teachers did their own thing and didn’t follow the schedule. Last year was better for me because I could look at all my work in the morning and plan out my day. This year is more difficult because we were given assignments in the middle of class, due at the end of the day, when last year we had them all due by 9am. I am returning in person and I am looking forward to seeing friends during school and being able to sit in class, face-to-face with teachers. The benefit for me will be having the ability to talk to teachers without the entire class sitting and listening on a meet.
Anastazja (Class of 2021)
“In March, transitioning from in-person classes to online classes wasn’t particularly difficult for me. The class work online was less rigorous and less time consuming. I barely had any Google Meets, so I could manage all my own time. I did struggle to actually learn anything, everything seemed like busy work. This quarter is more difficult. It’s mindless to walk between rooms in the building, but it’s difficult to figure out where to be and when online, especially when some classes change which days they meet. In person, you also absorb all your information in one-way: your teacher tells you. Online, you have to find information and assignments in lots of different places. I am going back in person. I think mentally is helpful to get up and move between classes. I also think it’s easier to ask questions, especially the quick clarifying ones. I think the biggest benefit, though, is social interaction.”
It’s safe to say that this year has been less than ideal for everyone, students especially. As a senior, it feels like this year is pointless, and that getting a passing grade is all that matters. Hopefully, with in-person classes starting back up, it’ll become easier to focus, get assignments in, and boost grades.
While everyone’s experience is different with the current situation, it’s important to remember that everyone is doing their best with the situation provided. Whether your “best” is getting straight As or getting zeros on a handful of assignments, it’s important to not be too hard on yourself. After all, this is a new way of learning compared to the 10 plus years we’ve experienced, and you can’t expect yourself to perform the same way in a completely different system of learning.