The toll of online school for a teen


Annie Metherd

I am not wasted potential I am a trial on its way to great success.

As a student I never thought I would find myself saying, “I wish I was in school right now,” but these days it seems as though that’s all I ever hear from myself and my peers. I never expected this feeling back in March of last year when I was dancing at the thought of months off of school.

I’m a hardworking student; I’m the one to run to class not to be late, do every extra credit possible, re-do a million assignments, check an essay 100 times, get help during lunch or after school or maybe even come in early. There’s not a slacking moment for me when in-person at high school.

Everyday, I’m disappointed watching myself sit back while the green words on my screens turn red and the girl who once cared so much about school can’t even find it within herself to complete the easiest of tasks. Just about my worst nightmare outside of E-learning — in the grade-book became regular.

I am never one to have to make a teacher like me, but this year I felt like every one of them was worried or saw me as a poor student.

I constantly missed classes because of my connectivity issues and sent emails to IT to remedy the situation while the DGS library became my best friend through email for some time.

“If I’m already falling behind in school, I might as well go to bed and do it another time; I might as well go do something else: my room needs cleaning, I need to workout, I’m hungry, I’m tired, I need a break.”

I hit a low with all of this. Waking up for class was hard and doing any work at all was even harder; my energy for all things was low. I didn’t want to be anywhere but at home; I didn’t deserve to be anywhere without having my work done.

I’d find myself sitting in front of a computer staring at it for hours, before staring at my phone for another three hours, then leaving for work, coming home at 9 p.m., doing homework at midnight again and thinking “it’s already late homework, what’s the point.”

There was no separation in my life at all; it just felt like school on school on more school. I woke up, opened my Chromebook and went to school, I got off school and kept my Chromebook open.

My thoughts were racing:

“Annie you have homework to do there’s no room for free time, and not only homework but late work and emails, clubs and projects too.”

“Don’t forget we have a meeting tomorrow at 7 a.m.”

“There’s great college opportunities if you could get those grades higher.”

There was no time for myself. I was so stressed about my work, I pushed everything aside.

For some odd reason I still felt like I was trying my hardest to do everything, to show up, to focus and to learn. When it came to my grades I couldn’t fathom how I could ever let go of all my care so quickly. Months passed and this whole idea of “not doing your online school work” seemed to become a habit.

These habits were only reinforced by social media as I saw countless posts joking about missing assignments. Social media started to normalize the behavior, making me and other students feel we were not alone.

Making students feel more welcomed because of your own faults is bringing a community down with you.

It’s horrible to feel behind; this must come to an end. Our generation is going through some tough times in life that we don’t fully understand and we won’t for some time.

Despite missing these highly important moments in our lives, we must take what we can get. While our normal lives may be on pause, our future awaits so much more, and we should take this time to grow stronger as people.

There are ways for us all to come together and make things better in the worst of times. As a student, I believe we may see ourselves as wasted potential this year, wasted education or even say to ourselves “I’m not learning because I’m not in school.”

But even if we don’t learn a single thing from school this year, we’ve learned more than we ever have before about ourselves and that in itself will teach you just about anything you’ll ever need to know in life.

Becoming who you are and learning who that person is is the heart and soul of human growth. I am not wasted potential, I am on my way to great success. And you are too.