More than a Grade

Online School and its Effects on Mental Health

This+is+what+%27school%27+looks+like+to+over+93%25+of+students+according+to+Census.org.+However+the+long+term+mental+effects+that+virtual+learning+poses+to+students+can+have+negative+consequences+according+to+junior+Kylie+Scheible.+%22I+never+thought+this+is+how+I%27d+be+spending+my+year.%22+Scheible+said.+%22A+lot+has+changed+since+last+year+and+for+the+most+part+it+hasn%27t+been+that+great.%22

Isaiah Prophet

This is what ‘school’ looks like to over 93% of students according to Census.org. However the long term mental effects that virtual learning poses to students can have negative consequences according to junior Kylie Scheible. “I never thought this is how I’d be spending my year.” Scheible said. “A lot has changed since last year and for the most part it hasn’t been that great.”

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

COVID-19 has caused over 93% of students to attend some form of distance learning according to Census.org. This study raised concerns over the long-term effects that distance learning may have on a student’s health. Mental health is just as important if not more important than physical health for students according to the SPRC, and their studies have shown that grades, assignments and GPA are known to be causes of stress and anxiety for students.

“Regular school can be hard enough, but not being able to directly speak or interact with people can sometimes feel really isolating,” senior Keyona Williams said. “It’s hard sometimes waking up and not being able to say ‘Hi’ to friends or ask my teacher in person if I need help. It’s especially difficult when it’s on a day to day basis.”

Isolation is a major hindrance to a person’s mental health according to Nami. They stated that isolation not only stresses adults and teens alike but can have long term negative effects that can last almost a decade. This may be concerning to some as Insider has stated that quarantine has made people more socially isolated overall.  Isolation isn’t the only impediment that virtual learning poses.

“I feel like [virtual learning] has really inhibited my learning capabilities,” junior Kylie Scheible said. “Personally I feel like I learn better immersed in an environment where there are way less distractions than at home, and at the end of the day I’m able to leave that environment and when I do it’s super liberating. But learning at home makes it feel like it’s infringing on my personal life, especially learning in my own bedroom which is my safe space, but with school the environments are clashing and it gives me anxiety.”

Scheible isn’t the only student to feel this way, according to Edutopia many students are still struggling to adapt and replicate the engagement in a normal classroom. Virtual students feel that it is harder to maintain grades and manage anxiety; this can lead to many students feeling overwhelmed and stressed according to Edsource. Junior Rece Merrill feels that going back to in-person might be the change necessary to improve her situation. 

“I feel like if I was in-person it would be easier for me to keep track of everything,” Merrill said. “Hopefully it would stop teachers from giving out undue amounts of assignments, and also I would be able to talk with more people and get a sense of routine”.

Adapting to virtual learning has been an experience like no other according to Census.org. Merill believes that social media has helped her stay in contact with her friends and keep a sense of community. She also feels that her virtual learning experience has some benefits as well.

“I couldn’t imagine what this quarantine would feel like if I didn’t have my phone,” Merill said. “Adults love complaining about how much we are on our phones but in the middle of a pandemic, it’s never been more important. I honestly don’t know if this pandemic would’ve turned out differently if I didn’t have my phone”. 

While virtual learning can cause a multitude of added stress to some students, it can also come with benefits for others. Not every student does well in a classroom setting and some struggle with social anxiety according to Vox. Junior Raniyah Leneau feels that in-person has benefited her greatly.

“I feel more comfortable with myself and how I handle things without the social pressure of classmates or teachers watching over you,” Laneau said. “I enjoy not worrying how I present myself at school, like not caring about what I wear makeup or if I’m going through a hard time physically or just not having to talk to other people to be honest.”