Online School Makes Brains Go Offline
Online school has become a part of every teen’s regular schedule, and it has begun to display its negative attributes on mental health.
Online school is something everyone has adjusted to and students have found difficulty in maintaining their mental health in this environment.
Students have battled through the tougher beginning parts of the adaptation process and have developed ways to keep themselves focused in school while also maintaining their mental health.
“Online school has definitely impacted my mental health. At first it was very hard to stay positive and adapt to a whole new daily routine. As the days went on I’ve learned to look at the brighter side and stay more positive, so I’d say my mental health has become stronger,” junior Jenna Leone said.
Counselors in the school’s Wellness Center have noticed significant changes and impacts of online school on student’s mental health.
“[Online school] can be a mixture of both, but it seems to be more negative than positive in a lot of cases. Positive because the workload for some students has decreased, which has been beneficial for their mental health. Negative because most students need to be able to interact with others; it helps with managing our negative thoughts when we have outside interaction…,” student support specialist Kelli Washington said.
A primary difference that has been noticed by many students is that it seems as if workloads have increased in online school.
“I do think the course work has increased because teachers think that since we are home we have more time to do the work. The problem is that once the students get off of their Zoom or Google Meet calls, we are tired. But then, we are given a pile of work to do back on the computer,” senior Ella Frost said.
The lack of personal connections between students and students but also students and teachers is a prominent issue in online schooling; break out rooms can only connect us so much.
“The biggest difference for me is just the lack of relationships and connection. I think our school prides itself on the faculty and student relationships, so without it, school feels very impersonal. I go to my classes, and I don’t even know if my teachers know my name because classes are packed and the only thing they see of us is a tiny square,” Frost said.
Along with the struggle of losing in-person school connections, students’ mental health has simultaneously been impacted by the loss of sports, extracurriculars, and ability to visit friends.
“The change from in-person to school online has had a significant impact on students’ mental health. Without the balance of peer interaction, sports, extracurricular activities, and the socialization that comes with being on campus, students are struggling,” Washington said.
Students offered up their ideas and suggestions based on their own personal experiences with the current system, for faculty, admin, and the school board to consider in terms of making any new calls about the workings of our online school platform.
“If we called Wednesdays, ‘Wellness Wednesdays’, students could take the day to sleep, recover, do homework, or go to the teacher’s office hours. By doing this, the students don’t feel like every day is the same and they also feel like the school cares about us. Right now, we don’t feel heard because of the schedule we are given and we don’t feel like a part of the school,” Frost said.
As this situation is out of students’ control, it is in their control to keep their heads up
and remain focused during this time.
It is extremely important to care for one’s mental health during a time like this and prioritizing it to the maximum.
The Wellness Center remains open virtually for any students who feel as if they need someone to talk to.
“If you find yourself overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we are happy to help you guys through this ‘new normal.’ Talking about how you’re feeling can be really helpful,” Washington said.