The normalcy and redundancy of school that was once despised became craved by parents, teachers, and students alike when COVID-19 and quarantine hit. The switch to online learning has forced students to shift not only their learning spaces, but also their schedules, routines, attitudes, and futures too.
“I expected online school to be more stressful and less organized,” senior Katherine Thoms said. “However, now, I have learned more than I thought I would in order to do well on tests and quizzes. Our teachers still have the same expectations and keep us held to a high standard.”
Although the expectations to meet traditional Chelsea excellence have always been upheld, online learning makes perfect past performances appear less attainable. Both freshman Claire Zarinnia and senior Riley Thorburn agree that it is harder to learn from teachers through a screen than it was in-person.
“Bottom-line, teachers have less time to teach,” Thorburn said. “Lots of class time is devoted to answering the questions we came up with while teaching ourselves.”
Thorburn explained that being isolated in dissimilar surroundings as her peers and meeting with her teachers strictly through Zoom makes school feel artificial.
“It doesn’t even really feel like high school,” Zarinnia agreed. “It’s hard to take seriously and it almost feels optional.”
Not only do students think it’s hard to learn online, but they aren’t receiving the full potential their education could offer them. Students like Thoms have to cope with not receiving the valuable experiences that aren’t attainable through online learning.
“The changes I had to make weren’t really voluntary,” Thoms said. “I was supposed to have an internship at Chelsea Hospital. That was all canceled for the entire year because of COVID.”
However, some students have benefited from online learning and the shortened school day that encompasses. Thorburn, being one of those students, uses her free time that otherwise would’ve been spent connecting with teachers face-to-face to prepare for her future.
“With classes being shorter, I have more time to devote to applying to colleges,” Thorburn said. “I’m taking advantage of the extra time.”
Whether it’s the typical and exciting senior experiences, freshman-firsts, or daily social interactions, something has changed for everyone. Whereas some believe online learning is still worthwhile and others a bust, the goal for everyone is to make the school year better than expected.