Virtual learning takes a turn, improves students’ mental health

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Photo by Margot Richlin '23

At home set up for distance learning.

Margot Richlin '23, Staff Writer

Sitting at a desk in an uncomfortable, stiff chair for hours at a time can be tough. Trying to learn and grasp new concepts while shivering, sweating or trying to quiet a growling stomach can be stressful. Listening to the kid sitting next to you tap his pencil for an hour while you’re trying to take a test is aggravating. But sitting in a comfortable chair, burning a candle, listening to music and blocking out distractions? Now that sounds relaxing.

A personalized environment is only one of the reasons that I prefer distance learning. In general, attending school definitely takes a toll on students’ mental health. Personally, online school has improved my mental health drastically. Not only has it decreased my stress levels, but I feel increased productivity, a greater sense of organization from having everything in one place and I love the personalized aspect of doing school from the comfort of my home. 

For a person with a busy extracurricular schedule, procrastination is always very appealing to me. I easily become stressed over work load and time management. This year, however, I feel so much more productive during online school. 

When I finish my work early, I am so much less stressed and am able to have a more relaxing week.”

By the time I get home from an ordinary school day, I eat and get ready for dance, and often lose motivation to finish my schoolwork, pushing it off as a result. By contrast, after I log out of my final class of the day, I stay in my designated work room. I have fewer distractions, so I am often more productive and finish my work faster. When I finish my work early, I am so much less stressed and am able to have a more relaxing week.

I love to be organized, but it’s hard staying organized with so much going on. I am a competitive dancer, and I sometimes dance up to 15 or 20 hours a week. Due to my intensive schedule, online school is physically easier for me to manage than in-person school. Online school has helped me improve my organization because everything is in one place. I don’t have to worry about handing in worksheets or projects in person because everything is virtual. I can easily submit assignments to either Schoology or Google Classroom, and not have to worry about forgetting to submit them or losing them among a plethora of other papers. 

However, when I attend school in person, I have to keep track of papers, assignments and work online. I find myself much more tired on the days where I go to school in person because, by the time I get home from dance at night, the next morning’s alarm clock seems to ring abruptly. However, when I have the leisurely aspect of attending school in my house, I get much more sleep and am a lot less tired.

I find that I prefer working on online documents rather than a handful of papers. I would rather write a paragraph in a Google Document that gives me the freedom to change anything, than trying to erase scribble marks that have overwhelmed my paper. With that, I am still able to take the neat, handwritten notes that make me feel that much more satisfied during virtual school. I also enjoy being able to increase my comfortability by sitting in the seat I desire and being able to tune out all distractions while taking a test or quiz.

Although distance learning has its flaws, my overall take away, thus far, has definitely been a positive one. Not only has the transition back to school been easier, but virtual learning has alleviated tons of stress and allowed me to be in a more relaxed and happy mood throughout the school week. Virtual learning has given me a wave of relief from the stress of in-person learning.