May 27, 2023

In light of the transition to online classes for most American universities, and even for lower levels of education from elementary schools up through middle and high schools, students across the country have had to adapt to a completely new style of learning.

With this change, there have been many adjustments to make to individual’s styles of learning and the challenges of online school have not been small. Many students have struggled greatly due to this sudden switch, although for some it has been easier than for others.

Changing class formats has also presented technological difficulties, as professors and students become heavily reliant on technology to learn.

In traditional styles of school, both collegiate and lower levels, there is a sense of community and learning is a group effort. Amid the change to online synchronous and asynchronous online learning, students must now work more individually and in many ways, the feeling of community has been lost.

Remote learning has, in many ways, robbed students of the group-style education that they became reliant on from the start of their educations. Because of this, I have felt as though it is almost like we are re-learning how to function in school.

Although online school may be easy for people who are extremely self-motivated and independent learners, for many students this is not a preferred method. In this way, online school has forced students into an unfamiliar and for many, a difficult style of schooling.

However, there may still be valuable lessons for students to learn, both in and outside of the virtual “classroom.” While there may now be no other option, learning has taught me a new kind of responsibility and independence­—one that was not as prevalent during the days of in-person learning.

I have learned how to better manage my time and be more self-sufficient in learning. Professors and other students are still easily reachable through email and calls, but being outside of the physical classroom setting has taught me a new style of learning I did not know I was capable of.

Despite this, there have still been multiple instances when I reflect on how unfair this all seems, and I think the frustration that students feel at this forced change is justified. Online school is not easy. In many ways students have lost what they knew as school. Universities and other levels of educations look completely different in 2020.

The necessary transition to remote learning because of the impact of COVID-19 may leave many students feeling isolated and detached from their education and the people who made up that system. I certainly know this is how it has felt for me, but because of that, I have found that I am not a self-motivated learner. These past three years at CBU I have relied heavily on the in-class instructions and interactions.

I also came to realize that these are elements of school I always took for granted. Although virtual learning has presented many challenges it has also been a time of personal growth and reflection. Being able to appreciate the things I once saw as necessities, has forced new independence.

Online school forces students out of the traditional group mentality and into a new style of thinking, one based heavily on self-motivation and independence. 

This may be easier for some than others, but without a doubt, it is a new experience, and also a time to give grace and understanding to yourself and other students.

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