By: Lydia Finch, 10
Distance learning provides a safe space to work. Working in a bacteria infested school can cause sickness and stress, while working in isolation reduces exposure to dangerous germs and illness. While some students may feel physically safer at home, the emotional side of distance learning can be an issue.Caroline Durr, a sophomore says “It’s hard to keep the same motivation I have at school in the place where I usually relax. My grades usually drop and not being able to have as much social interaction affects me negatively emotionally as well.” Working in isolation causes feelings of loneliness, correlating with the increase of depression and anxiety rates in the U.S. According to the American Psychological Association, rates of anxiety increased from 8.6% in 2019 to 37.2% in 2021. Depression rates increased from 7.5% in 2019 to 31.1% in 2021. This could reflect being forced into isolation because of the pandemic.
Distance learning also provides a flexible work environment, allowing students to create their own schedules, work on their own, and develop responsibility. Many students thrive when working on their own. Kyler Crissinger, a senior, says that distance learning helped him. “Distance learning is a great opportunity for me to finish school earlier, allowing me to accomplish a lot more with my day.” Most students are like Kyler. Their grades increase, they enjoy the freedom, and it gives them more time to focus on other activities during the day. On the other hand, some students struggle during virtual learning. Caroline also says that she gets distracted at home. “I have two younger siblings that distract me a lot. Most of the time my phone and social media are close by, and my bed is so near it’s just so easy to take a nap.” It’s very easy to get distracted with constantly buzzing phones, siblings, and just life in general. Grades drop, the missing assignments pile, and even more anxiety sets in.
It’s easy to feel disconnected while in distance learning. Spending all day locked in your house can definitely contribute to anxiety and loneliness. For some students, distance learning means the opposite.Emily Cho, a sophomore at UHS says “My social anxiety decreased, and I felt more comfortable. I got more sleep and I was able to spend more time with my hobbies. For me distance learning is better for my mental health and energy, but in person is better for my work motivation and accountability.” Distance learning allows people like Emily to be on their own, where they feel more comfortable. Asking questions in class, working in groups, and just socializing in general adds pressure on students. The feeling of loneliness is even worse at school when surrounded by students.
Distance learning has its pros and cons, and each person deals with it differently. Some people do wonderful working in isolation. They can maintain their grades, run their own schedules, and they thrive on their own. Others need more consistency, which school provides. Distance Learning has its ups and downs, but ultimately it’s up to school boards to decide what’s best for their students.