For the last 1 and ½ -ish years I have been doing remote school. That means, I have not been to school for over a year…until now. I’ve only given you a small glance into what the first few days have been for me, and now, I’d like to share my experience after a full week.
Before I talk about my week, let me give a quick explanation of how school last year was like for me.
In remote learning there wasn’t much expectation set for us as compared to in-person students. For example, several activities or projects would be taken from our curriculum because we were digital learners. Because of that, most of the assignments were extremely simple. (With the exception of Shakespeare.) Not only that, the teachers were very easy going on us. There was no pressure on us about coming into Tutorials to make up/redo work or any “before class ends” deadlines. From that type of relaxed mindset, it was easy for students, including myself, to quickly lose a lot of the good study/working habits we used to have and develop some unhealthy ones. For example, listening to music all the time, completing assignments during another class, taking advantage of the off-camera feature of zoom and snaking messages to friends, or even just procrastinating and lazing around a lot.
( I’m not saying all remote students were like this as some did really well throughout the online school year, but I’m giving out some of the habits I, and possibly many other students, developed throughout it.)
I didn’t think much about it at first, but during our school’s awards ceremony, the realization dawned on me. And when it did, I was unbelievably upset. Throughout that night, my friends each went home with at least two awards, including an A honor roll. I went home with just an A honor roll. I never got called again, and watched and clapped as my friends got called up many times. Later, as the auditorium emptied out, we all came together and talked for a bit. We all laughed and chattered as if it was no big deal how they all could barely hold their medals while I held onto a measly paper. Nothing clicked in my mind that anything went wrong. Not even when we took a photo all together. In that photo we’re all smiling, and even through my mask, it looks as if I’m proud. I hate that photo. I hate how I have the audacity to even smile. I hate how it looks as if I’m fine and it was the greatest thing that had happened to me. Later when we were driving home, my parents pointed it out to me and I agreed. Even at that time, it still did not come to me what had happened. It was only until we came home and were reviewing for my Marathi finals that I realized what happened. It was as if the weather followed my mood. The grey clouds had darkened more and more as we went home and poured down on us as soon as I left to use the bathroom, and cried my eyes out. Everything came to me and I realized how the year became. I scolded and criticized myself for everything I did, and believed I had failed. I felt low and realized how foolish I must have looked hours before. I couldn’t blame anyone but myself for wasting a potential year and for dropping to a level lower than acceptable. I felt extremely humiliated with myself and swore that it would never happen again. From that moment onwards, I decided that I was going to pull myself up and make next year the best I can, no matter what it takes.
Starting a new year is always challenging. But it was especially challenging for me as I had been remote for more than a year. I forgot how I’d have to skillfully navigate through the densely packed halls of students bustling to get to their next class within a span of 4 minutes, work in a fast-paced curriculum, manage and use my time in class effectively so I have less work at home, and so much more. In addition to that, I also have kickboxing, tutoring, and the usual Friday Marathi class after school, giving me less time to complete my work. So, the first week of school pretty much drove me mad. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration.
With a new environment and fully-packed weekly schedule, what else is left? Goals. I had decided last year that I wanted to work hard this year. How hard? So hard that I need to maintain a 100 average in every class, on every test, assignment, activity, etc. I needed to fully ace everything I did this year, and that meant by going beyond what is expected. It’s a challenge, but a necessary one. I needed to pull myself up from where I was last year. And so far, it’s been a rocky start.
One, I’ve already gotten a few grades below a 100. Two, I’ve taken on kickboxing and tutoring my neighbor who has just started his middle school era, leaving me with less time than before to complete my work. Third, I got sick.
Let me start with the last one. No, it’s nothing major, just the common cold. After doing online learning for over a year, you pretty much stay at home for the whole day. As a result, my immune system didn’t get much exposure to any viruses, causing me to get easily sick within my first week out. That’s pretty much why I spent 3 days of school acting like an alien. It was incredibly awkward when I get up in the middle of class to randomly blow my nose or when all of a sudden I make a sound that sounds like I’m laughing. Good thing masks hide most of your face.
I have kickboxing every Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday- 6 to 6:45 on the weekdays while 10:45-12 on Saturday- and have decided to tutor my neighbor on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I then have Marathi School on Fridays. AT the end of the day, I’m already exhausted from school, and half an hour to get only the review portion of my work done. After that I’ve got to go to class or help out my friend, and resume my work by around 7-8:30. I’m not used to having such a packed schedule like most students do so I’ve been having some trouble with getting all my work finished. Hopefully it’ll get easier soon and I’ll be able to complete everything without any worries.
Lastly, grades. For me, the main reasons for some of my “worst grades” so far is because of 7th grade review and working with partners. I don’t like to work in groups that often, but when I have to, it stresses me out a lot. For example, on Friday in my ELA class we got an official seating chart, and I am table mates with two boys. I don’t mind boys, they’re pretty chill and I like hanging out with them. But, my problem is that our next grade in that class, analytical paragraph, involves working with our table mates. Oh boy. We barely got a proper topic sentence within the 30 minutes given because the boys would do everything but focus on the assignment. Who knew boys would talk about haircuts and stuff? I was so done with them, and it had only been a day. Apart from that, there was a measuring activity in my engineering class which we had to solve with a team. We ended up getting a terrible score, and so we’ve planned to go fix that.
And then there’s the 7th grade review. I had a Science quiz on review from 7th grade science, and I got an 86. Saying that I remember at least half of what I learned in science last year, is a lie. I took the entire course through an app, and I barely remember 30% of it. So, when I took the quiz on Friday, even after reviewing the concepts, I blanked out and got an 86. But, the past is in the past. The most I can do is assure that my next grades are all 100’s.
Long story short, online school sucks. It’s not really the curriculum’s fault, but rather mine. I was the one who got into the relaxed mood and took everything so easily. But, I have to say the way that online school works is what causes the mood to be developed. In the end, I am extremely glad to finally be back at school. I have missed going to school in person and actually participating in projects and activities a lot, so, going back was really special for me. I hope that I can get used to the feeling though. Hopefully everything will calm down soon. Until then, bye!