RTLP Causes Mental Health to Deteriorate


Nina Bush

Students often do classes and homework in the same spot. This lack of movement can make it difficult to concentrate and focus.

Nina Bush, Staff Writer

Last year’s remote learning taught me the value of learning in-person and made me appreciate the little things about school, like side conversations at the start of class, seeing people in the halls, getting to catch up at lunch, sports, and just being in the class room in general. In contrast, being online has made my mental health decline significantly. I was so happy to get the opportunity to go back, in some form, for the start of this year, and I felt I was in a good place mentally because it was the start of the year, giving everyone a fresh start and motivation. However, now that we have moved fully online, I have noticed that this motivation has worn off.

One of the main causes of this is that the structure of online school is repetitive, there is a lack of social interaction, less physical activity, and a lack of breaks. This is because students sit in one spot and Zoom into classes for four hours, and then get up and take a short break just to sit back down in the same spot until they finish their homework. Additionally, bans on gyms have prevented me from being able to play sports. Sports give me a break when I drive to practice, and when I actually play, I can focus on something that is not school related and clear my mind. Without this, it is harder to focus because nothing feels different.

Unlike in person learning, on Zoom there is no time to catch up and to interact with classmates. Those small side conversations or getting to be next to other students while working together on a problem makes a huge difference. Zoom, due to the number of people on the calls and the amount of material we have to get through, and the nature of the technology removes these social aspects, making the process of learning purely academic. 

School should be much more than just learning about material. It teaches us how to interact with one another and be social, and it’s somewhere where we get to just be kids. Online, people aren’t as eager to participate, there is no longer any bonding over having to wake up early to scrape the snow off  your car or running into people in the halls that you don’t have classes with. Most things just can’t be transferred through zoom that are necessary for our learning as young adults, not as students. 

These things that have been removed are what define most people’s high school experiences as one of the best times of their lives. In other words, it is difficult to maintain your mental health when you know you are missing out on what could have been a day that you made a memory that you would cherish forever, or a day you could have made a new friend, or even a day where you had an awful experience that taught you something about yourself. 

The other day, in one of my Zoom classes, we finished early and just talked and went around showing off our holiday decorations, and sharing life experiences. We all bonded and talked for the first time in months. This made me realize how easy it is to get caught up in trying to learn material on Zoom, or to try to get everyone to share part of the previous night’s homework assignment and how it removes the human aspect of school. 

Online, everyone feels separated; we are no longer relatable to each other, but feel distant, making learning harder and my mental health decline. This has made me value FaceTime calls or Zoom breakout rooms when we have gotten distracted from the homework question because they compensate for the lack of community elsewhere.