By Melica Mahmoudi
Hearing the sound of your alarm 20 minutes before class and having a tranquil mind knowing you won’t be late was one of the conveniences that came alongside online learning last year. Although attending classes on Zoom provided students with a multitude of resources and comfort, it came with the price of never ending distractions and social sacrifice.
Students weren’t alone in their Zoom struggles, however. Teachers often had a difficult time trying to engage students and increase participation as they taught to black boxes and limited student participation as students were mentally in another place.
Although they had an easier time attending, sometimes even from bed, many students often felt like the previous school year just went by and information they supposedly learned flew past their heads.
“I think a year and a half of online school definitely changed my learning style a lot. We all had to become much more independent learners because we couldn’t go to the front of the class to talk to our teacher or turn to our partner when we had a question. I became a more independent learner. I also had so many resources available to me so there was less of a drive to work hard when I approached a challenge,” senior Trisha Devchoudhury said.
The 2020-2021 school year was filled with distractions as students were anxious about the pandemic and the world around them. The relatively new structure of school also made it hard to participate and focus in classes.
For the most part, it was an uncomfortable time for everyone involved. Beyond struggling to focus, there was a feeling of invasion as the place you call a safe space turned into school. Having your teachers and peers see your surroundings was often stressful.
Even then, students could turn off their cameras, sit and stare at their phones without paying any attention to class. Days felt longer as 80 minute classes felt like a life-long amount of time.
However, there was a sense of security at home for most as we were protected from both Covid-19 and the anxiety of the possibility of there being a school-shooter on campus.
“This sense of fear and anxiety was something we didn’t have to worry about on Zoom. Personally, it was like a reality check for me since it happened only after the first week of school,” senior Kailyn Maranan said
Although many of us longed for in-person classes and social engagement, it has been a big adjustment to be back on campus with the reality check of what school really is like.
Do students really maintain efficient social distancing guidelines? Especially in crowded places like the infamous L-building. The crowded, tight space almost feels like there is barely enough room to breathe as students try to get from class to class, let alone keep a safe distance.
Within this transition, students were first very excited to have the opportunity to meet friends and teachers once again after the long break. That feeling faded quickly, as soon as rumors of a threatening social-media post came through. An instagram story of a weapon with Granada Hills Charter tagged caused students to feel panicked and many to be pulled from school.
Suddenly, the reality of what school life is like kicked in. These were the fears students did not have to worry about for over a year in online school. The realization caused students to feel uncomfortable once again at school.
“As a first year student, the Instagram post did make me feel anxious about my safety on campus. I did not have to worry about these particular inconveniences with online school, but it’s still refreshing to see my friends on campus,” freshman Max Usmanov said.
As the administration reassured students of their safety, the normality of being back on campus started to allow students to familiarize themselves with their surroundings.
Students are now welcoming this school year with open arms awaiting endless possibilities.
“I’m just happy to be back on campus. It’s felt like it’s been ages, yet everything is still the same,” senior Joelle Nana said.