Virtual school is actually good for us

As the days go by, and students partake in more and more virtual school, it’s becoming clear we can’t binge watch Netflix and get our work done all in one day. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Have you ever wondered what life will be like in college? Away from parents? Completely out on your own?  

Recent school cancellations due to the Coronavirus may actually give students valuable insight into just that.

Now that you’re stuck sitting at home, Mr. Forrester isn’t here to tell you to go to class, and Mrs. Price isn’t at the top of the stairs telling you to finish your convos and stuff your phones in your pockets. 

Nothing is stopping you from simply neglecting all of your classwork and spending your entire day lounging in pajamas.

But we all know how that would end. Grades would plummet, your parents would start getting phone calls. A few conversations between parents and teachers about missed assignments could change your home life pretty quickly.

Have you been on top of your online assignments?

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Without our normal seven-hour school day, which includes a to-the-minute schedule of when and where we need to be, it’s pretty easy to get sidetracked while in the comforts home.

Tiktok is just one click away, the pantry is full of snacks, and all your favorite Netflix shows are in your watchlist. 

To make matters more difficult, not all teachers use Zoom every day. And while it might be nice that we don’t have to sign on and conference with our class every day, it’s harder to stay focused on work when there’s no actual class meeting.

In terms of daily academics, teachers give assignments on SSESonline with due dates, and they creatively try to prep us for essays, quizzes, or tests, but for most, it isn’t the same.  It isn’t as easy.  We cannot physically see them and ask questions, and we are forced to message them and wait for a response. 

Thankfully, the teachers have done a good job of answering quickly and being very flexible with their students, but it’s becoming clear that this new version of school comes with some challenges and inconveniences we didn’t foresee.

But Allie— who doesn’t love staying at home, sleeping in, and doing work when we want? What could be wrong with any of that? 

Me, that’s who.

A lot of students, including myself, are procrastinators, especially when needing to get schoolwork done at home. 

I sit at my desk, ready to work productively for hours on end, but my brain does an amazing job of finding things to do besides writing that essay or studying for that huge pre-calc test that’s only one day away. 

As this remote learning process continues, we’re all noticing it– the days slip away quickly.

On top of procrastination, other temptations arise in this remote learning world.

It’s really easy to get sidetracked when you don’t pay attention to the schedule

— Ashleigh Rodhouse ('19)

Most of my teachers require me to message them or complete an assignment during their regularly scheduled class time to show my attendance. However, as easy as that sounds, it’s incredibly tempting to wake up, put minimal effort into the assignment, turn it in, and go right back to sleep. 

Welcome to college life. 

Nobody will force you to do anything, and many won’t. But there are always consequences.

There won’t be anyone in the halls enforcing rules, and there may not be anyone in the classroom over your shoulder— you’ll have to find the motivation on your own.  

In some ways, this virus is a blessing in disguise. Not only do we get a much-needed break from making the trip to school every day, but we also get to learn what it’s like to balance school with daily life distractions.  

Now that our classes only meet on Zoom occasionally, we need to be more on top of our work and more on top of our communications (via email and SSESOnline).  

Right now, slacking off could be far more dangerous to our grades than in a normal classroom environment because there’s less structure, less authority to make us actually do stuff.

And the danger of slacking is made worse because it’s the fourth interim— a time notorious for falling off grade-wise due to the proximity to summer break.

These issues— distractions, procrastination, less structure—  are typical for a college student as well. 

Saint Stephen’s alumna Ashleigh Rodhouse (’19), who attends American University in DC, said that in college, “It’s really easy to get sidetracked when you don’t pay attention to the schedule, and you have a lot going on regarding extracurriculars or even just going out to get food with friends.” 

A common difficulty that teenagers face is balancing a social life with school work. Now that we aren’t in school, a lot of students are tempted to go out with friends. Although it’s advised not to do so due to Coronavirus fears, barring a government-mandated lockdown, it seems inevitable that students will socialize.

Junior Sofia Sanchez said, “Being in school forced me to do my work efficiently, but not having that separation between home and school makes it hard to get work done when I would much rather hang out with my friends or go to the beach.”

Freedom can be very difficult to balance and this virus, although unfortunate, is a good way for students to practice being more independent and to learn some tricks that they can take with them to college.  

To combat these newfound urges to procrastinate during remote learning, Rodhouse said, “I schedule out my week by looking ahead at the syllabi and making sure that I get everything done days in advance so that I’m not stressed.” 

By knowing what her week looks like, she can plan what days are better to spend time with friends and what days are better for her work. 

Or you could take a different tactic, which is to do all of your work upfront. 

Junior Kayleigh Vogt said, “I just do all my work right at the beginning of the day so then I can have the whole day to myself and not have to worry about anything.” 

So people, keep your stress level low and keep up with your academics. Take this remote learning time to practice being independent.  Pretty soon, you’ll have to anyway.