Recently, a deadly pandemic spread across the world rapidly and affected our everyday lives greatly.
COVID-19 has changed everything in our lives from toilet paper availability, to the sanity of every person restrained to their house for months. Normally from late July to late May every toddler, child, teen, and young adult would be forced out of bed at some ungodly hour in the morning and be forced to learn for seven hours straight. Since COVID-19 broke out though, the usual everyday school schedule has changed almost completely. Some of us students find ourselves in a completely different situation than we’re used to.
Approximately 36% of NAHS students are participating in completely virtual learning, according to Principal Michelle Ginkins. As a student that chose to do virtual learning, I can tell you that it is so difficult to complete all of the tasks that I am so used to doing at regular, in-person school. Just asking to go to the bathroom can be difficult.
Picture this: You’ve been sitting in your room for three periods straight, drinking that huge iced coffee that you actually had time to make, unlike most regular mornings since you usually have to catch your bus at 6:30 in
the morning, and now you realize that that coffee is racing through your system and it isn’t going to stop until it crosses the finish line. So you try to get the attention of your teacher by turning your microphone on and waiting for the chance to ask to go relieve yourself. Finally, after a not very spirited rant about whatever assignment you have, there’s a pause, the perfect time to ask, so you ask. Turns out, the teacher has all the virtual kids on mute so now every other virtual kid knows you have to go to the bathroom, and your teacher is still oblivious. Trying to get their attention through the chat won’t work since no teacher ever looks at the chat unless they’re checking to see if you’re still awake by asking you to type your favorite color. So now you have to decide whether you should stay at your desk, sitting in pain for the 20 minutes left of class, or just go to the bathroom but risk the teacher asking you a question and then finding out you weren’t paying attention and giving you some kind of infraction.
Really though, a huge problem with virtual learning is trying to find the right time to ask your teacher a question or answer a question, especially considering half of the time someone is having a technical difficulty and it’s not like you can just raise your hand to let your teacher know you have a question. You have to either keep your question to yourself until they ask if anyone has any questions and risk forgetting, or interrupt them and risk coming across as rude for interrupting the teacher.
Another thing some may face as virtual students is accidentally turning your microphone on and the whole class knowing what you say when you think no one’s listening. I haven’t had this happen to me yet but I’m constantly checking to make sure I’m muted and my camera is turned off, just in case. I don’t need everybody hearing my verbal frustration over something I don’t understand, how awkward. It’s gotten to the point where I’m so anxious about being unseen and unheard that I don’t even trust the buttons actually telling me that my mic and camera are turned off. Like what if there’s a glitch in my computer and everyone just saw me spill my microwave macaroni and cheese all over my shirt? What if everyone just heard me scolding my pencil for breaking?
School is always filled with anxiety and ‘what if’s’ that you really didn’t want. It’s like when you go to a restaurant and your food automatically comes with a side of coleslaw and it’s just THERE. Like you’re not going to eat it, you definitely don’t want it, but it’s just there and you have to deal with it. But now, virtual learning comes with a whole extra set of anxieties and ‘what if’s’ that you’ve never had to experience before. It’s like getting two heaping piles of coleslaw shoved into your mouth as you’re forced to slowly chew until you can swallow it.
We’re all in some really tough times right now, and with everything that’s happening in the world it might seem like you’re being forced to eat all your least favorite foods over and over again, with no visible end in sight. But, there is an end, there is the wonderful, beautifully made piece of moist triple chocolate chocolate cake at the end of this coleslaw rainbow we call life right now. So while we’re still riding the -19 train, social distance, wash your hands, and for the love of all things wonderful in life, wear a mask (the correct way).