Corona On My Mind: A Day in the Life of a Virtual Student

Corona On My Mind: A Day in the Life of a Virtual Student

Justin Knowles, Staff Writer

Amidst these confusing and unpredictable times, school has become a complicated aspect of life. As students, we must be able to adapt to a dynamic school environment and evolving student-teacher relationships, and I have found that to be very difficult. When quarantine hit, my friends and I all thought we would be returning to school in a couple of weeks. No one expected that this pandemic would have such a significant, lasting impact on our lives. 

Most of my classes at the end of last year weren’t very structured, having very few or no virtual meetings from March to June, leaving it clear to me that neither the students nor our educators knew how to best adapt to this situation. This was clearly evident in the stark contrast between my classes’ workloads. While teachers in two of my classes drowned us in piles of work and assessments, a few of my other teachers took a completely different approach and would only give us one assignment a week. When looking back at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, it is obvious to me that we were not ready for this pandemic whatsoever. 

As the 2019-2020 school year, and my sophomore year, came to a close, I can say that in comparison to other grades, I had it the best. Ossining’s new freshman class barely got to experience high school as a whole, juniors lost their semi-formal and college trips, and seniors lost their prom, graduation, and their ability to say goodbye to the teachers they loved. Sophomores were smack dab in the middle, we had already gotten to experience high school, we didn’t miss any school dances, and most of us didn’t miss important standardized testing. Looking back now, I am thankful that I was not affected by this pandemic to the extent at which other students were. 

With the unpredictable nature of last year’s school year at the forefront of my mind, I tried to be ready for anything at the start of this new school year. When the school district sent out their reopening plans, I was cautious to critique them as the staff and administration had been working hard on them for months. Their plan was to have our first school days’ nine periods be spread out over three days equally, to make the transition from summer to online schooling easier. In my opinion, this was a great way of introducing students to virtual learning. As someone who has now regularly attended fully virtual school days, I can say that they are definitely a handful.

In a perfect world, I would wake up early, make myself a healthy breakfast, and be ready for my school day by 8:00. In actuality, I get out of bed at 7:50 and quickly get ready to get onto my first Google Meet. During the first semester of this year, I only have off ninth period, which means that after I get into my first period class, I’ll be on the computer for 6 hours straight. During the first three periods of the day, I find that it’s very hard to get work done because it’s really hard to get motivated and keep focused. In between periods I walk my dog for a little bit, grab some water, or just take a breath. Toward the middle of the day (between periods 4 and 6), I try to get the most work done that I can. Right around this point in the day, I start to lose some fuel, and the effects of sitting in one place for multiple hours and looking at a screen starts to kick in. I think of my last two periods of the day as the homestretch. As soon as I get off my computer, I listen to my music and breathe.

Homework has arguably been one of the hardest parts of this new school year because everything feels like homework when there’s no separation between my school, home, and personal life. I try to get my homework done to the best of my ability but I do fall short sometimes. Being involved in different clubs and activities is a huge positive, as it helps me get school out of my head, and I can directly see what I’m getting out of my extracurriculars, while I can’t always see what I’m gaining from virtual school. 

While being a student is hard, now, more than ever, we have to be able to hustle through these confusing times and do our best to make it to the finish line.