New Year, Same Anxieties

New Year, Same Anxieties

The first day of school begins a new year with new classes, new teachers, and new friends. Yet the anxiety that comes with starting the year stays. The requirement of all students coming back in-person presents new challenges for people who haven’t been in a school building for 16 months. 


Online learners coming back into the sunlight after being at-home students for the last year have to adjust back to in-person learning. 


“Being online for so long made me prefer in-person more, but when I started online, I preferred online more. Right now I do like in-person though,” sophomore Emerson Menrath said. 


Anxiety makes school feel impossible for many, and speaking up could be hard for those who haven’t had to in years. However Menrath said she enjoys school, making new friends, and how easy it is to talk to teachers rather than online. The social aspect of in-person is attractive to those who haven’t been in-person since March 2020. 


“I prefer in-person because I learn more, and it’s easier to learn because there’s less distractions. There’s less distractions here, more than online because online there are many distractions due to me not having restricted school Wi-Fi so I can get onto other applications and it’s very distracting,” Boye said.


 Focusing on school in the comfort of their own home was a new problem for students, and the transition from in-person to online was sharp and unpredictable. However the transition back to school was a little easier to turn into.


“I do really like this school, I didn’t think I was gonna like it as much as I did. There’s a lot of kids so that’s kind of stressful but the teachers I have are really nice,” Menrath said.


 Although an introvert, Boye finds seeing friends as one of the things he missed most from being online.


“I like being around friends instead of just [messaging them] via application. I like just seeing them, high-fiving them from time to time, maybe a quick hug, planning projects and all that stuff,” sophomore Kevin Boye said. 


Online students had the disadvantage of learning a year’s worth of school through a screen instead of face to face. However junior Avery Pascual improved on time management skills through online classes. Pascual found that online classes were harder than in-person classes as keeping up with the course load was mainly based on self-reliance. With less teacher support, students occasionally had to become their own teacher.


“It was definitely harder online for them to walk me through [my questions] through Zoom and in-person they can show me, and I feel more comfortable asking questions,” Pascual said.


Although there was online tutoring, the experience wasn’t the same as a one on one tutorial in-person. Teachers tried their best to help but the screen couldn’t compare to the real thing.


“Last year was an experience within itself really, so I mean, I just kinda take that as a different experience from that year and move on,” sophomore Sebastian Alsing said.


The fear of coming back to school may be overwhelming, but the school year looks bright. Students who migrated from online to in-person will quickly pick up on the in-person curriculum. Although not every student wants to come back in-person, the clouds of anxiety will depart and the sun of comfortability will shine through again.