Distance Learning First Impressions

Charlie McGill, Class of '21
a high school student learning online

Post Oak student Charlie McGill takes on virtual learning.

Originally posted on The Buzz Magazines by student reporter Charlie McGill

The week before spring break, it became obvious to Post Oak and every school around the country that they would need to begin the transition to online school once classes resumed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At first, students were universally ecstatic; after all, what sounds better than no school for the foreseeable future? However, once we were quarantined, unable to see our friends during spring break, and beginning various online programs, everyone realized how much school really meant to them.

Many schools, including Post Oak, have set up great distance learning programs. Unfortunately, it is impossible to replicate the social aspect of the classroom and the simplicity of in-person classes online. This has made the transition to online school difficult for many people, and I want to share my experience after the first two weeks.

The hardest part about distance learning are the constant distractions around you. Some of those distractions always exist at home, such as family, electronics, or a basketball hoop in your driveway. However, in my experience, the main distraction is coronavirus. It’s difficult to concentrate when there’s a constant feed of news on the disease, or there are plans for a new stimulus package I haven’t researched yet. When the world is suffering around you, school work can seem trivial. I’ve had a hard time getting that thought out of my head, and I’m hoping that homework becomes my number-one priority again as coronavirus becomes more normalized.

Finding a routine has been difficult as well. Personally, I like to have my day structured out, but that’s difficult to do with online school. Post Oak’s distance learning program doesn’t involve much class time, opting to allow students to schedule one-on-one meetings instead. While I’m liking this approach, it means that 90 percent of my day is open. This has forced me to create a routine and a schedule instead of following one like I do on campus. I hope that quarantine improves planning ability.

Although parts of the transition to online school has been difficult for me, I have enjoyed all the open time to complete my work. With less class time, I can finish my homework earlier and spend the rest of my day relaxing or working on passion projects. This has been a real luxury, but a hard one to enjoy when I think of the reason behind my free days.

We are living in unprecedented times, where our lives, jobs, and country have shut down. Although education may seem trivial because of the state of Earth around us, schools are some of the few remaining institutions that are operating similarly to before coronavirus. They are providing us with a sense of purpose, a routine, and a distraction that we all desperately need.

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