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Online Schooling: A Reflection Based on Personal Experiences

Since the pandemic began, we’ve all been staying at home, continuously adjusting to the new normal. Plenty of changes have been administered since then: we’ve gone on lockdown, people have stopped traveling, restaurants and shops have closed down, etc. All of these changes have disrupted our lives and have interrupted our usual routines, but one of the changes that I feel had the most impact on students was the shift to online classes. Having classes online has had many positive and negative effects.

Online classes have allowed us to study in our houses. Being at home can provide a different level of comfort as well as an overall change in the environment. However, because of this setup, I tend to get distracted more easily since I’m under less pressure. Less pressure also means more relaxation, which can cause me to forget about the school work or assignments that are due. Since I can jump onto my bed anytime, I start to feel tired. I can also go for a snack whenever I get hungry. Studying at home is more casual and relaxing which can be good as long as we stick to our schedules and learn to manage our time properly.

Aside from technical difficulties or problems with time management, studying and working at home can prove to be distracting. The environment in our houses is uncontrollable and can’t really be changed. Construction can start somewhere nearby, dogs can bark, the doorbell can ring, someone could enter the room, etc. It’s impossible for us to control or change what happens at every moment, but we can learn to adjust to and block out distractions. Once, I was having my History oral exam when someone started using a drill outside my window. It got very loud and obviously very distracting, but there was nothing I could’ve done. I had to adjust and learn to filter out the noise despite the challenge. Even though we can learn to adapt, there’s no way to completely get rid of distractions. When we study in the school building though, we can manage disturbances better although it can feel more tense and less comfortable.

Since we’ve started our classes online, we’ve had to learn how to adapt to a new schedule. We aren’t compelled to wake up as early since we don't have to take into account travel time, traffic, and a few other factors. Our live classes are held less frequently, and some people even have their classes in the afternoon. Many people experience problems with their internet connections or gadgets though. Personally, I struggle with time management. It's difficult trying to observe at what time of day I’m at my peak, or what time I want to stop studying. Schedules can be indefinite, especially since we’re entitled to our own time during asynchronous class. My experiences of getting distracted, stressed, and forgetting a lot of things made me realize that we should learn how to adjust to schedules and be responsible with time without overworking ourselves or doing too little.

When it comes to retaining the information we learn, I think online learning is less efficient. Memorizing definitely isn’t fun, and after the quarter is over, I forget most of the things I tried so hard to remember. We cover more topics in a shorter period of time, and the lessons aren’t as repetitive. I remember how before, we would cover one topic over the course of 1-2 weeks. Now we cover 2 topics in one. Of course, we can’t always remember every single detail clearly, but it would be nice to have some stored knowledge that we can access in the future. We need to process and understand so much information in such a short time that we might end up forgetting it or just get even more confused in the long run. Understanding the lessons is the key to memorizing them, but they can be hard to grasp sometimes.

Overall, there are many upsides and downsides to both online and live classes. Studying at home can cause unnecessary distractions, procrastination, and struggles with time management, while studying at school can cause more stress and tension. Retaining information seems to be easier for me during live classes although I feel more motivated to study while at home since it’s more relaxing. Online school also allows for more variation in study methods; it allows students to find the style that suits them most. When we can follow a flexible or even our own schedule, we might be able to find better times when our minds are clearer. Deciding on our own schedules isn’t always for the best because we might not be able to separate our study and relaxation time; we might not be able to set definite boundaries. Some students might overstudy while some might not study enough. Despite having a flexible schedule, we should try to follow the ones given to us.

Although I don’t want the pandemic to persist, I feel online school is one of the upsides to it. Being at home is more relaxing, and I’m able to handle my schedule more although it does have some negative aspects. As I said, we’re more prone to getting distracted since things are out of our control. There are many changes I aim to adapt to better. I’m hoping I’ll be able to manage time better and learn even more. I also hope that in the future, I’ll learn to handle distractions and even find better ways to avoid them. Online school does have its negative aspects but if we find ways to overcome challenges, we might just be able to enjoy it.

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