Personal Narratives

Back to school has been a mixed blessing

Nov. 22, 2021

By Skylar Girone
Staff Writer

Virtual learning has caused many unnecessary struggles in my life. Attending school online, though I found it difficult, was not meeting my academic needs. That said, as a new student at LHS this year, returning to in-person learning has also been a struggle. 

My online education during the pandemic was very academically challenging. I completed my entire sophomore year virtually in Pennsylvania. I faced many distractions that made it hard for me to focus during classes and lectures. I retained little to no information, and that set me back this year.

Since coming to LHS, I have needed extra help from my teachers, which meant I had to stay after school to catch up on information and concepts I would have easily retained had I studied in-person last year. Those extra hours I stayed after school during the first marking period led me to also fall behind on my homework and have difficulty meeting my deadlines. 

Aside from the impact it has had on my academic performance, virtual learning has weakened my social skills. I noticed that after being away from people for so long, I didn’t like interacting with those whom I didn’t know. My anxiety has worsened when it comes to being in social settings. Doing simple tasks such as talking to people in a group or just having small conversations has become a lot more difficult for me after being away from people for so long. Especially as a new student at LHS, my weakened social skills and anxiety has made it harder to make friends. 

I feel a lot less lonely now that I can be with other people, and I look forward to seeing my friends every day at school.

When it comes to meeting deadlines, I feel more stress than ever before. During virtual learning, teachers were a lot more lenient and cooperative regarding extensions on assignments and due dates because they understood the challenges the pandemic and remote learning placed on students. Teachers are definitely more strict on deadlines now that we are back in school. Online learning was new for everyone, including teachers, so they were more sympathetic. 

When it comes to education, getting in contact with teachers is a lot easier now that we are interacting face-to-face. Not all teachers answer their emails right away, but with in-person learning, I can just stop by a teacher’s classroom and ask them a question. 

Even though I feel some social anxiety, I have been in a better state of mind since returning to in-person learning. 

Attending school from my home had taken a toll on my mental health. I would attend my classes from my bed and rarely ever get ready for the day. I would stay in my pajamas and not brush my hair or do my makeup. Having to go to school has been good for me because it has caused me to settle into a morning routine and feel energized by getting out of the house.

After working through some hardships in the first two months, I believe I am back on track. I no longer need extra help and I enjoy being surrounded by people, even if I don’t know them well. I feel a lot less lonely now that I can be with other people, and I look forward to seeing my friends every day at school. 

I am trying to look at the bright side and recognize that the hardships I faced with online learning have made me a stronger person who is more prepared to tackle challenging situations. I also know a lot more about myself now. Because of my experiences last year, I will avoid taking online courses in college or entering into a career that would require me to work from home. I feel empowered by my self-awareness, and I am grateful that life is slowly returning to normal.

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