Written by 2 Public Health Academy (PHA) interns based on interviews with their peers
When the pandemic hit, we did not realize how much it was going to affect our society and mental health from social distancing and being six feet apart. We all assumed that quarantine would have been over before the new school year but it has been prolonged for clear reasons. Now, during this new school year, we had to adjust crucially to virtual learning which has taken a huge toll on our mental health. So we wanted to know more and interviewed a couple of students wanting to gain more insight on how Covid-19 has affected their mental health, and how they are adjusting to virtual learning.
1. How are you adjusting to online learning?
The students are adjusting to online learning pretty fine. One of them thought it was a bit tougher since they cannot ask teachers for help in person. Another student said that they are trying to adjust to online training by trying to find ways to not get distracted easily and focus on staying successful and working hard.
2. Is it affecting your mental health? If so, how?
Online school has been mentally draining, due to getting stressed by all the work they give them. The majority of the interviewees do not feel motivated to do their schoolwork and often feel tired. One of them said that it is not affecting their mental health negatively. She has been able to spend more time socializing and spending quality time with her family.
3. How are you managing your time with all your work without feeling stressed?
One of our interviewees stated that there is not a way “not” to feel stressed because, during these times, he is always given work to do, back-to-back. One thing he believes is that time management is key. He plans the work that he has to do for the day, at a certain time. Our other interviewee said that she now manages her time by organizing her work and using a planner to properly coordinate and complete her assignments on time. One method a student uses to manage her time without feeling too stressed is if they have multiple assignments due on the same night, she starts on the one that’s the most work.
4. Have your teachers provided you any resources to help guide you through this transition? If so, how? If not, what do you wish that they can provide for you?
For one of our interviewees, his teachers, and the staff members at his school have provided him with resources to help with the transition, such as meditating, and tips on how to stay on top of schoolwork through a screen. Another interviewee says that her teachers have provided her with online tutoring via Zoom which has been very beneficial for her, especially in math.
5. What are some techniques you’re using to stay on track with your schoolwork?
Some use agendas to write down the work they need to do so they don’t forget, using alarms & reminders on their phones to make sure they complete their schoolwork in a timely manner, and they have designated areas in their room for them to complete their school work, and not get distracted. One interviewee sets deadlines for herself and makes sure everything is completed by the days she said she’ll have them done. She also reaches out for help when she is confused.
How the authors viewed the questions and responses?
Online learning is tough, but we can manage. We believe that it is most definitely tougher to ask teachers questions through a screen than in person. In-person learning was easier since the teacher is right by you in a classroom, we didn’t have to worry about waiting for them to email or message us back.
Virtual learning is very mentally draining. We both believe that we just keep receiving work after work, even during our so-called “breaks.” It’s stressful learning through a screen, and then completing homework and turning it in on a screen. We both have been able to socialize more with our families. We also have found a new hobby during quarantine, bicycling & photography.
There is no stress-free way to get through these hard times for education, but there is a way we can make it less stressful. We both have alarms to stay on top of our classes for attendance, and we both also have a whiteboard that helps with organization. We write the assignments we have for that week, the classes, and when the assignments are due. It helps us both stay on task, and helps us manage our time better.
Our school provides optional online tutoring, and we believe that it is beneficial for both of us. We also have a mental health counselor who comes into our advisories and gives us tips on how to stay calm/feel less stressed out, and great work habits that’ll help guide us through this transition. We agree on having a designated area for school work, and we believe that it is really helpful because if we are on our beds instead, we’ll be too comfortable, and won’t be able to focus on what we are supposed to be doing or learning.
We can conclude that the youth are having a hard time adjusting to this new transition. It is also important to take mental health seriously during this time since we aren’t socializing with people as often it can be hard to get through the day. Schools and teachers should also incorporate healthy tactics that help the youth practice taking care of their well-being.