I reminisce of the time when I didn’t have an assignment waiting to be handed in at 11:59pm. I miss the time when my phone was my private heaven, without notifications flooding in from my teachers.
Google Classroom notifications seem to be the only thing I am waking up to and the only thing I see before hitting the sack. I miss the time when my teachers used to speak to me only during school hours. Amidst this huge pool of 500 missing assignments and 10,000 online webinars, my mental health seems to have been thrown out of the window, along with my work ethics and will to study.
‘Is online school worth the pressure?’, is one of the questions that keep recurring in my mind. Schools leave behind no fools, but they surely leave their students drained and exhausted. Online schooling gives us no scope of missing classes as such. Neither physical health nor your mental health matters in this aspect, just because one is attending their classes from the comfort of their own homes. This can work either in their favour or not, because a lot of the students do not come from safe homes.
Some students find a safe space in their school and the pandemic has snatched away from their safe spaces. Online education does not provide the loving and affectionate environment of a school built with bricks and plaster. It doesn’t give you memories made in a classroom. There is no lunch break, there is no cold Maggi to share. Online school has snatched away the joy of sneaking and eating during classes.
Not only does an online platform create a monotonous, dragging atmosphere, it also makes learning all about learning and nothing about the fun of learning. Drudgery and saltwater brine, online education feels like a drab all the time. Online classes lack the teacher-student bond because students have their cameras and microphone switched off throughout the class. It is not uncommon to see students doing something else while attending their online class. Students have confessed that they cook, sleep and even watch movies during their classes.
School is that period of our childhood where we make numerous friends. But social isolation occurs due to online education. Friendships slowly and steadily fade away in online schools, except for a handful. Friendships formed amidst the four walls of the classroom fade away. No walls listen to the giggles and gossip of the children in their starchy white uniform. No best friends can be seen seated together, planning mischievous pranks.
The online platform makes school feasts and events seem like a dull chore. Somehow, the joyous cheers and the excitement are lost. Children’s Day has stopped being about chocolates and started being about Google meetings and virtual celebration. Sports Day can only be a mid-winter dream and Teacher’s Day is all about recorded videos. Somehow, all the fun has been drained out of these events, which once lighted up faces of every student.
The level of depression and anxiety that has raised due to these classes has been remarkably high. Somewhere and somehow, the serotonin and the happiness that students got from their classes have vanished. Low serotonin levels in students has resulted in insomnia, hypersomnia or other sleep disorders. It has resulted in a lack of appetite and an irritable mood. There is not only a lack of motivation to study, but also an anhedonia-like state.
Online schooling maybe the neo normal, but it has shaken and stirred us all up.
Written By: Olipriya Roy