Students Returning From Distance Learning

Imagine going to school every day, but instead of going to a school building, you are at home. This happens for a year and a half and then a new school year begins: You get to go back to school physically. How would you feel? Would things ever be the same?

Last year a lot of students in AITE experienced going to school fully online. Now that everything at in-person school has changed, things are harder for students. Last year sophomore Noah Graham was a fully remote student. “It felt like almost every day was a repeat of the last, with few differences in my surroundings or activities,” he said, reflecting on his experience in Distance Learning. The monotony of the routine was a big part of the problem for Graham. “I hated every second of it. Staring at a computer screen all day actually took a toll on me,” he said. Another sophomore, Nicholas Vazquez, had a different experience: “It was easy to get good grades and to relax and all without having to drive home from school,” he said.

But did Distance Learning prepare them at all for going back in person? They both felt that they weren’t really prepared. “It did get me used to doing and submitting work online, something I wasn’t used to until the pandemic hit,” Graham said. He explained how he missed the teacher just being classrooms away. For Vazquez, he explained he missed socialization with classmates. “I was a freshman last year so it was like being a freshman but with sophomore classes,” said Vazquez. For Graham, the transition was smoother. “Socializing hasn’t been difficult at all, I’ve been able to talk to the friends I made last year, and have made many more friends in my classes. For the time being, it’s going great!” Graham said.

One thing that was different when they came back to school was masks. They both said masks are annoying from time to time, but as Vazquez puts it, If it means I can see my friends and socialize, then I’m fine with it, to be honest.” Returning to full-time in person school has also not been as stressful as students might have anticipated. “I actually feel less stressed coming back to school. It’s somewhat hard to explain, but in-person feels so much better than online. There aren’t as many distractions, you can socialize with your friends, and have quick access to your teachers,” said Graham. Vazquez felt the same way. 

Students going back to school are relieved to be going back. They missed their friends and missed being in a classroom environment, compared to sitting in their room on their laptop. If having to wear a mask means they can socialize more, then they’ll keep it on.