Perspective: Student Life During COVID-19

Photo+by+Kestrel+Adams+Unger+%2719

Photo by Kestrel Adams Unger ’19

School life is drastically different since we have been in quarantine. When we started again this year, we went from one unfamiliar schedule to another, which led to a lot of strain within the student body. From online classes to block terms, we have gone through a lot of rough transitions within the past few months. On top of being in quarantine and away from our friends, our lives as students have been greatly impacted. Now with the decision to return or stay at home, we are faced with another decision that will alter our school life for the rest of the year. We interviewed some students to see how much the pandemic has affected them after the first block term. 

For most students, Academy life before the pandemic was stressful enough on its own, having to balance the responsibilities of schoolwork, extracurriculars, and other tasks life threw at them. However, with the added stress of a pandemic, the burden of decreased time for some classes paired with the increase in schoolwork has led to higher stress in a majority of the student body.

Carissa Kanae ‘22 stated, “I feel like I can’t remember not being this stressed, but this stress feels different.” 75% of the respondents found that their stress levels have increased greatly due to school during the pandemic.

Danielle Yamashiro ‘22 said, “Distance learning is something no one was prepared for. Not mentally, not physically…While we could eventually adjust to distance learning, for the time being it isn’t easy.” The transition to online learning has been tough for many students especially since we weren’t prepared for such a drastic shift in our education. We went from seeing our teachers in person and having a certain schedule, to another system entirely, while also adapting to Webex. 

In addition to the shift in schedule, a lot of the stress comes from the workload and varying class times. Semester classes have less class time but span over the entire semester, while block classes are more condensed, but give more class time. Both give roughly the same amount of work to most students but the stress from the different classes adds up quickly.

Despite this, 55% of respondents reported that their classes felt the same as regular in-person classes, while 45% reported that their classes felt more difficult. However, in terms of actual work, 65% of respondents reported that the amount of work given in their classes increased, while 35% reported that the workload had more or less stayed the same.

Angela Uyeda ‘21 said, “Everything feels more overwhelming because I’m so exhausted all the time.”

A lot of students experience a very high level of stress and even burnout on the extreme end. Because of this increase in stress, a lot of students are creating their own ways to deal with the added strain. The vast majority of the students interviewed stated that they listen to music to cope with the additional tension. 75% of them reported that they enjoy watching movies and online videos to relieve stress. 65% reported participating in something more artistic, such as drawing or painting, while 45% reported being active helped to cope. 

Before the pandemic, many students valued breaks as a time to spend with their friends, and interact with them in person. Due to the restrictions of the pandemic, online communication between students has become more vital than ever. 45% of respondents reported that they spent time online with their friends  to help relieve stress.

A lot of students utilize platforms such as FaceTime, Zoom, and Discord to hang out with friends virtually, as well as social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to give little peaks into their life. 60% of students reported that they spend up to an hour interacting with their friends online, while 35% reported that they spend anywhere from one to three hours, and 5% reported they spend greater than four hours.

Within the spike of technology use, video games have also become ways for students to cope with stress. Multiplayer games like Among Us, Fall Guys, and Minecraft have made a large comeback within the student body, as it enables friends to interact with each other similarly as they would on campus. 

With all of this in mind, students are faced with the difficult choice of either returning to in-person classes, or remaining at home to continue online learning. 75% of respondents said that they would be returning to campus for in-person classes, while 25% said that they would be continuing online learning from home.

For some students, participating in sports is a large factor in their choice. Thomas Yamada ‘21 said, “I plan on going back to school because it will allow me to compete in sports. I don’t want to sit in front of a computer as a substitute for school, and hopefully I’ll get to see some of my friends in-person.” Regardless of the uncertainty that lies ahead, we are determined to strive for our best, despite the undesirable circumstances. For now, we’ll take it one day at a time.