LAST week we glimpsed the struggle of an educator. Now, we hear the challenges of a student, Ruth’s daughter Yumi Morales.
One of the most significant challenges brought about by the pandemic was the online class setting. For someone like me who enjoys going to school, learning with friends, and participating in school events,
I felt that online classes keep me from enjoying the whole college experience. Before the school year officially started, I was already having mixed feelings about it. I had such high expectations and plans for my first year, but I knew that what I had in mind was impossible to achieve in a pandemic.
I kept worrying about how I wasn’t going to do well in my studies because I learn best when face-to-face. Worrisome thoughts trailed on and on in my mind, yet I never considered the gap year an option.
The first few weeks of online classes were unsettling and overwhelming. As a freshman, everything was unfamiliar; I was confused. In ordinary situations, if I had concerns, it would be much easier to go straight to the office and ask for help. Or, if I had trouble following instructions, I could easily approach a friend from my section. However, that’s not how it works anymore.
We’re in a pandemic; everything is now virtual. Although the internet is supposedly convenient to reach out to and for everyone to keep in contact with, it was difficult for me to break barriers online, especially with new people. It’s not easy getting to know strangers through the blue screen. So during the first semester, I was disoriented.
Not only did I struggle to create a bond with new classmates, moreover I went through several burnouts because of online classes. It’s funny how I still experienced burnout even though I was just at home doing all of the schoolwork. I remember being so frustrated with the number of deadlines I had to pass in such a short amount of time.
I even had nights when I cried as I was finishing my assignments. I remember times when our internet got disconnected at random hours, and my works got erased. Even worse, when I was in the middle of an exam, I lost our internet connection! It was just the first semester, yet we got bombarded with assignments and activities. And, an unstable internet connection wasn’t helpful.
There were also days when I would only eat one meal a day because of our hectic schedule. The pandemic caught us all off guard that we were all unprepared with the whole new setup in education. At that time, everyone was still figuring out which system worked best in the current situation.
Looking back, I felt sad, stressed, and struggled about being a freshman during a pandemic. No doubt, I complained a lot. It was an unpleasant experience to start the school year in a new school with new people online. But as I look at where I am now, I guess I can say I found some blessing even amidst the pandemic.
I finally made friends in my section, and I find them supportive and patient. I also got involved in other school activities, and that has been exciting. I guess what I had in mind before about college can never come true, and online problems will always be frustrating. But, I am grateful that even in this pandemic, I found little joys as a freshman.
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