Senior returns to school in-person after year online

September 2, 2021

Like some other students at Central, I spent all of last year going to school online and returned to class in-person this fall. Although I am sure that not all students have had the same experience, I have found the transition back into in-person learning to be relatively painless.

While it might be reasonable to assume that it would be difficult to return to in-person after a year of full online, it actually makes some sense that—at least for me—it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I had a smoother transition back into in-person than many of the students who went back last year.

A major reason for this is that I didn’t return to in-person in the middle of the school year, and that instead, I had the three-month buffer of a summer break in between my last online classes and my first in-person ones this year.

This meant I was starting new classes, rather than continuing ones I had started online, and it meant that I was given a reintroduction to the school on my first day back in-person, whereas many who transitioned in the middle of the year started off with a normal day of schoolwork.

The other major reason I might have had a smoother transition back into in-person learning than many of the students who went back last year is that I had transitioned back into in-person experiences in other parts of my life already.

While I did spend all of last school year online and in my house for the most part, over the summer, I went to work in-person, went to church in-person, and went to a summer camp in-person.

For much of the summer, I was even going places without a mask, because I’ve been fully vaccinated. Although these were somewhat weird or uncomfortable experiences to begin with, I got used to them pretty fast, and by the time school started, being around a lot of people again was not the jarring experience that it might have otherwise been.

Instead, the start of my school year was stressful for the normal reasons: finding my classes and friends, figuring out how I would get home, and worrying about the impending assignments and projects.

But I don’t want to act like my experience of the start of the school year is representative of all the other former online students; I can certainly see how those students might be struggling now.

They may not have had the same period of re-entering into the world that I did this summer, or they may have struggled academically while being online last year, putting them at a disadvantage for this year. For any number of reasons, a former online student could be having a rough time coming back in-person. Or, like me, those students could be doing just fine.

The one thing I can say for certain after returning this year—and the one thing I’m sure that most people would agree with me on—is that in-person school is far better than online.

Although it was necessary for safety reasons last year, and I may have appreciated the later wake-up times and lack of a commute, an online classroom is a difficult learning environment.

I did not struggle in the way that some people did last year, and I managed to stay engaged and focused in all my classes, but it was difficult. The inability to connect with other people created a learning environment where discussion was stilted at best and nonexistent at worst, and where distractions were readily available.

I would be content if I spent the rest of my life without taking another online class again, and I am happy to be back in-person for my senior year.

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