Starting college online this year eliminated many of my fears I had throughout high school. My fears related to social things such as making friends, enjoying my time at school, and just getting used to not living at home. Little did I know the importance of human interactions in the classroom, and learning in an actual building, conducting an experiment with my hand versus my computer mouse. It took me a while to take school seriously because being at home made me feel like my typical routine of sleeping in, working, working out, etc., was manageable with the school. It simply wasn’t for me. Though this isn’t true for everyone, I had to put in more work to understand the material because my Zoom would lag during a lecture. I had to watch YouTube videos trying to make sense of an experiment because my teacher’s office hours didn’t match my time zone. I could keep talking about issues caused by the online platform, but my point is that it’s hard to excel this way and grow as a student. There’s also the problem with things being fair. Many students have ample opportunities to cheat, whether it be on a test or just a five-point homework assignment. It’s difficult to point out the cheaters from the non-cheaters when every person is a small box on a zoom call. This leads to some students putting in more work than others to get the same grade. My last piece of sadness towards the online format is the lack of unity in my classes. I miss classes in high school because of my experience in the classroom. There was always the kid who got in trouble, the one who made the jokes, the one who was asleep… you get the point. We didn’t have that on Zoom. It was hard to build connections with your teachers and, more importantly, your classmates. Being a freshman, I didn’t know anybody, and this was the same for most kids. It sucks that making friends is a lot harder than physically going to school because that’s such an essential part of college: new friends. I don’t like to complain, and I appreciate everything my school has done to make things feel normal. At the end of the day, it comes down to each student and what teaching style they learn the best. For me, online school isn’t it, but it’s about making things work for you. As for me, I think I finally learned the recipe for conquering Zoom University.
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