This school year has been the most stressful and confusing its ever been. Due to Covid-19, a lot of students are virtual and some not. I along with a few others are virtual. So far, I’ve been doing well virtually, but there have been some disadvantages- many disadvantages actually. I asked few virtual students: Josie Deaton (senior vocal), MyKayla Hall (visual junior), Sydney Knotts, (literary junior), and Aliyah Watts (vocal junior) how everything was going and here were some responses.
What does your daily routine look like?
Personally, I wake up, join my first zoom meeting and after that, I either nap, watch TV, or find things to do. I’ve gotten into paper-making recently to keep myself busy.
Deaton: I don’t wake up until 9:30 because I don’t have a 1st block. I usually just do a little bit of work, do something around the house, and then go back to work.
Hall: I wake up, get right to work in my classes, and enjoy a little free time.
Knotts: I usually wake up 15-20 mins before 8AM, which is when I have to join my first zoom. I Zoom in for my 2nd and 3rd. I don’t have a zoom for 4th so I use that time to do work for that class and any homework I have for other classes.
Watts: I wake up at 8AM for a Zoom and then go back to sleep after I sign into my next class. During that class I usually shower and eat breakfast and then do any work I need to turn in. After I finish my work, I check into my choir class. Choir is hard to do online so he usually tells us to look over music and practice on our own. After that I have another class
Do you learn better at home or at school? What would make your virtual learning experience better?
I learn better at school but being virtual feels easier and almost more convenient. I only have one zoom meeting all day, but not having that meeting would make my virtual learning experience better.
Deaton: I think I learn better at school but virtual hasn’t been too hard for me. It’s harder because I have less motivation.
Hall: At home for sure. I feel more in my element.
Knotts: I’d say I learn better at school but being virtual gives me a looser schedule and I feel less stressed. I think it would be helpful if teachers or students were able to record and have access to the lessons taught on Zoom. In a subject like math, it’s hard to catch up if you miss a day.
Watts: Personally, I’m able to focus better at school (away from my bed) because I’m easily distracted and I’m a hands on person. I feel like having access to a fax machine would make turning in work easier.
Has your sleep schedule changed for better or worse?
I don’t know, I feel like it’s better. At school, I’d take mini naps in class, and then go to sleep around 11PM but now I stay awake all throughout the day. I wake up at 8AM, take a nap around 12PM, wake up at 3PM, and go back to sleep at 2AM.
Deaton: It’s pretty much the same besides having to wake up at 7 to get my temp. checked downstairs.
Hall: Honestly, it hasn’t changed much at all.
Knotts: So far, I’ve been able to maintain a decent sleep schedule, but during other times I was waking up for Zoom meetings with 2 hours of sleep and taking naps in between calls.
Watts: My sleep schedule hasn’t changed much. I go to sleep around 1AM but get out of bed way later than I would at school
How different is it being at home and still having to focus on your discipline?
For me, it’s wayyyy different. There’s no peer review as there is at school to help you through the art process. Also, I don’t have as many resources as I do at school.
Deaton: It’s hard to be a vocal and be virtual. Luckily, we are in theory this semester so it’s a bit easier, but choir is pretty much impossible. The delay is too great to all sing together over zoom.
Hall: I feel like somehow I have more time to work. I don’t know if it’s just that time flies at MSA but I work more efficiently from home.
Knotts: I wouldn’t say it has impacted my work as a literary student. I have access to a computer and decent internet connection and that’s all I really need.
Watts: Being virtual affects my discipline a lot because we can’t practice our music with the piano and the instructions we need. We also can’t all sing together because it’s impossible to try to in in sync in an online call.
Is having to follow your school schedule help to keep you on track or has it been harder since you’ve been home?
I think it’s harder. I have a bunch of alarms set on my phone to help me, which it does, but it would definitely be easier if I could do work on my own time instead of within a time limit of class. Also, time seems to past a lot quicker at home than it does at MSA.
Deaton: I think staying on schedule is pretty easy for me, but I am very self-disciplined.
Hall: I feel like the school schedule does keep me on track. Time management is not my friend, so schedules always help.
Knotts: Having to follow my school schedule has definitely kept me on track. Usually when I’m home for breaks, I’m unproductive but having these obligations has really pushed me to be a more productive student and person at home.
Watts: Following my school schedule has been easier to manage at home because I don’t have to walk all the way across campus and everything is right here in my bedroom.
Well, here it is. We can see that everyone is responding differently to virtual learning, but trust me, we’re all doing our best. And I’m sure all teachers are doing their best as well and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all of the efforts you all have taken this school year. It’s a difficult time for all of us. This pandemic isn’t what you signed up for yet you’re doing it anyway. You’re putting together distance learning plans and adapting your teaching in the blink of an eye. The experience of distance learning has given many of us a deeper appreciation for the patience, dedication, and commitment of our school staff. And we thank you.
And to all students learning virtually (and not virtually), I just wanna say good job. I’m proud of everyone that has risen to the challenge of the past year, and so proud for your hard work and contributions. Being away from friends and missing out on great experiences, from field trips to traditional graduation ceremonies, is disappointing. But this pandemic has not kept you from dreaming big and following your dreams. It hasn’t kept you from supporting your friends and family. And if anyone hasn’t told you, I’m proud of you.