Roanne Jubee Lee / Science Academy STEM Magnet, 8th Gra
Ever since the pandemic has started, many schools have turned their teachings to be operated online. However, there have been updates recently about schools potentially opening up to allow students to learn and study on campus. My initial reaction was full of excitement, for it would now allow me to see many faces of my friends. But it didn’t take long for me to think about how I really felt about this.
It has almost been a year since “going to school” virtually online and though the beginning was a bit rough for me to adjust, I slowly but surely became very comfortable with the system. Things became more convenient for me, especially as I entered eighth grade. Knowing how much school work I received in seventh grade, with homework that piled up and exams coming every other week, there was a relief with how much time I could potentially save now. Since March last year, I had extra time to sleep, more quality time to spend with my family, and more opportunities to manage my time to put into my school work efficiently and optimally. My hours on the school bus are now nonexistent; I no longer come home at 5 or 7pm. Instead, I have been using that time with my family, planning, thinking, and even just myself alone.
Yes, there are definitely days I miss my friends and teachers. There are days I wish I could sit down with friends to eat lunch. There are days I want to hear school bells ring to be dismissed. And surely, learning online does slow down my focus because there is no monitoring. Since there is no camera watching my every move, I sometimes catch myself reaching out to my phone sitting on my desk until I quickly tell myself not to. I can see how such a learning system can be an obstacle to those who have a hard time focusing; and then I think to myself, it may be necessary for schools to reopen.
Overall, I personally think that there are more pros than cons of online schooling. As I have mentioned before, as I now am in eight grade, the amount of homework and tests I received also increased. But the extra time I receive from online schooling gives me so much more time to study, do my homework, and get the sleep I need. Some may ask, “aren’t the hours from school and at home the same?”. Well, when I went to school, I woke up early in the morning at 6:20 am. I took around 25 minutes to get ready and eat breakfast, and then my mother would drop me off at the bus stop by 7:00 am. I would then ride the bus and head to my school. My school hours lasted from 8:30 am to around 3:30 pm. After school ended, I would ride the bus and arrive at my bus stop by around 4:35 pm. Getting home from my bus stop took 15 minutes.
But if I had extracurricular activities, my mother needed to drive me to the different locations which also took up some time. Some days, I would arrive home at 7:30 pm, and other days I would arrive home at 5:00 pm. This schedule gave me little time to do my school work and to study for my school tests. My weekdays were tightly filled up with busy hours of me trying to get through school and all of my “extra activities,” and it barely gave me any personal time.
For this reason, I always looked forward to the weekend when I would get to laugh, socialize, eat (a lot of delicious korean food), and spend time with my family. Even though my weekdays were tightly filled, I did, indeed, love my time spent at school. But ever since online schooling started, I am now able to get so much extra time. I don’t need to spend time on transporting to school for hours. All I need is just to wake up, wash up, and get my computer ready to attend my classes online. This school style has gotten me to wonder how hard it would have been for me to finish all the assignments I now have, study, and have my extracurricular activities. Maybe it wouldn’t have been hard, but I truly think that it would have tired me out. These highly convince me that online schooling is indeed more comfortable, though I know there are reasons to reopen schools as well.
Last but not least, I don’t know much about Covid-19, but I now live with the fear of somehow encountering the virus and I don’t know how I feel about going to school with many other students, who will go back to their families of parents, young siblings, and even grandparents. If anything, I want to study and learn in safety and comfort rather than anxiety of “what if’s”, but again, there could be other things I might be missing out on. What do you think? Do you think it’s better to reopen schools or stay closed and go online for the time being?
<Roanne Jubee Lee / Science Academy STEM Magnet, 8th Gra