Online Adjustments

The switch to virtual learning is not an easy adjustment, but surprisingly it works better than expected.

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Jenna Barackman

Following Maisons Check-ins, I met with my first hour AP European History through Google Meets.

Jenna Barackman, Managing Web Editor

Before COVID-19 took over the world, My morning routine consisted of this: wake up around 8:00 a.m., put in my contacts, brush my teeth, get dressed and then begin my nearly 30-minute drive to school. From about the point where I woke up to when I got in my car, I was definitely tired; however, the drive to school woke me up and put me in a good mood every morning since I love driving and especially listening to my music.

Now, however, after one day of classes (perhaps it will get better), I find myself lacking without my precious morning drive. Nowadays, even though I wake up at around 8:35 a.m., put in my contacts and brush my teeth, I feel even more tired. Online classes aren’t as bad as I originally thought, however, despite my tiredness, which is most likely due to a change in my sacred routine.

I was very apprehensive about online learning because I learn very well in the classroom and from peers. I was very worried that, because we were at home, teachers would use that as an excuse to stockpile hours of homework, under the impression we would have more time to do it. However, after a day of learning, I was incredibly pleased to find that the teachers were learning just as we were and patient to our emotions.

Even from the initial check-in with our Maisons at 8:45 a.m., the talk was not of school but instead a gentle “how are you doing,” which I greatly appreciated. At the start of every class, every teacher had in-depth discussions about how the class would work, expectations and checking in on the students. They reinforced that they were not just here as educators, but as friends if we ever needed anything. They had real empathy for us, especially the class of 2020 missing out on so many senior traditions.

Additionally, many of my teachers did not take up the entire allotted time of one hour and 15 minutes. Many just did a short introduction and signed off, which soothed my fears of too much work, especially in the beginning of a new kind of schooling. Many of my teachers are also only planning on meeting once a week, which won’t make this adjustment so overwhelming. My English teacher Melissa Wilcox even read us a comforting poem about our situations.

Despite all of this, online learning still feels and is so vastly different—it is far lonelier. And though my teachers and administration have worked so hard to make it similar to regular school, it isn’t. I can’t say hi to my friends in the hallway. I can’t check out or even eat lunch with my best friends. I even miss the nearly 30-pound backpack I used to carry daily and the uncomfortable desks I sat in every hour.

As a senior, I never realized how much I cherished school. It’s like that old saying—“you never know what you have until it’s gone.” I never knew how much a “hi, Jenna!’ from a teacher or a smile from a friend meant to me in the hallway. I didn’t know how precious the time spent trekking to 913 Nutrition every day at lunch was. Now that it’s gone, however, I feel cheated, I feel like I’ve missed out and overall I feel nostalgic and lost.

So, I’m trying to find routine: school during the day, FaceTime my friends during lunch, spend time with family and my boyfriend in the evenings, etc. I wish things could go back to how they were, but I know they can’t, so I’m trying to be content with where I am now. It will be a journey and a huge adjustment, but I’m ready to fit back into a routine even if it includes online school.