Returning to Reality: A Wake Up Call For Many Students

Victoria Gillard, Staff Writer

As we returned to school in September 2021, many of us had a hard time readjusting to the vastly different learning environment that we stepped away from in March of 2020. The change from in-person school to completely online education impacted many students, some losing all motivation to continue learning. This big change immensely affected our mental health and well-being. 

After we spent a year in the online world during quarantine, we discovered a lot about ourselves. Most of us found the positives of the situation, taking advantage of the extra time at hand. We tried new things, found new hobbies and spent more time with our families. Many of us spent a lot of time trying new foods, and some of us even experimented with cooking. 

Aside from figuring out whether we were gifted with culinary talents or more inclined to order takeout, we also stumbled upon new pastimes. Some discovered a new-found love and appreciation for reading, while others of us received weekly notifications that our screen time shot up 70 percent with a daily average of eight hours. We also found more binge-worthy shows on Netflix and realized we have an uncontrollable obsession with “Criminal Minds.” 

On the contrary, some of us explored the great outdoors and spent our time trying new activities like hiking, playing new sports and going to the park to have Pinterest-inspired picnics. Most important of all, we spent more time at home and became closer with our chaotic families. 

While there were many upsides to this idea of distance learning, some of us struggled with the “distance” portion of it. As students, many of us thrive on a more hands-on learning experience, and with COVID-19, it was tough to maintain the motivation to learn.  

In April of 2021, there was an opportunity to return back to school for the remainder of the year and explore the uncharted territories of hybrid learning. This was a nice transition back into the school environment and brought back a little bit more of the hands-on involvement that helps a lot of students succeed. It also didn’t hurt anyone that we continued with our 15-minute passing periods and 45-minute lunch breaks. Not to mention our Wednesday *no school* work days, which didn’t hurt either. 

Present day, we are back in person full time, with no time to shove a snack down in the hallways nor lollygag before class starts. Our lunch time shrank back down to the blink of an eye we call 30 minutes. We no longer have the luxury of sleeping in until 9:55 before logging onto class with our cameras off to hide the monstrous bed head that we don’t have time to tame. 

Life is back to normal, or as normal as it can be under these pandemic-induced  circumstances. We have to accept that all of the bells and whistles of last year are no longer a reality for us here at Tualatin High.