Online learning continues affect on students


Students may have had solace from online learning for months now, but many said they still face the residual effects.
April Ott, psychology and economics teacher, said, “Teenagers were definitely hit the hardest by the impacts of the lockdowns.”
Ott conducted her own experiment during the online learning period, surveying her students on their experiences with the lockdowns as they occurred.
“The responses I get are all across the board,” she said.
“Some students enjoyed remote learning and actually felt less anxiety when they were able to stay home, not be seen, and attend class without the pressures of getting dressed, walking through the halls, and presenting themselves in front of their peers,” Ott said.
Online education has mixed reviews. While some students benefit, others may face challenges with grades, social life, and mental health.
Ott said, “Social isolation takes a heavier toll on teenagers because they rely more on their friends to navigate the pressures and changes that occur during adolescence.”
Removing the ability for students to socialize in a familiar way can cause stress.
Students reflected on these problems and offered their own solutions.
“It was sometimes difficult to find the motivation to do my work,” senior Erin Manuel said.
“One thing that helped me is knowing when I needed a break and to do something that didn’t have anything to do with screens. So [I decided to pick up] hobbies, reading and crocheting,” Manuel said.
Time away from screens and computers can be a difficult transition.
“I’ve definitely seen more cell phones than ever, more distracted students, more tired students,” Ott said.
However, time apart from technology may benefit.
“I’m trying to do as many activities and hobbies outside of computers as much as possible,” Benjamin Zielinski, junior, said.
Certain pastimes can be trades of skill, like Manuel’s crocheting, but activities can also be simple.
“Listening to music helps me cope when things get bad,” Dana Uson, junior, said.
Besides hobbies and pastimes, other aspects of mental health have been affected by online learning.
“It made my work ethic and ability to pay attention way worse because my teachers had no way to make sure I was listening to them teach,” Uson said.
“Getting enough sleep is one thing that I know students are overlooking,” Ott said.
The transition back into the school schedule of years past also impacted many sleep schedules, which can be detrimental to the mental health of teenagers.
There are many methods to better help one’s own mental health and better understand their own mind.
“Take a psychology class,” Ott said. “At some point in your life, in high school or in college, you should learn about how your brain works and how to improve your mental health.”