Dissed to Missed: How Students’ Perspective on Virtual School Changed 



It seems nearly impossible to miss something that you once hated, but this year many students are experiencing this anomaly. Although last year was chaotic, disorganized, and draining, many only remember the positives: waking up late, having more free time, and feeling more relaxed. Psychologists say that we tend to hold onto our good memories and leave behind the bad ones. This explains why we may not remember the hardships we faced and only recognize the current ones. Students currently face tiredness, stress, and busy schedules, completely opposite to last year’s routine, which causes them to forget the bad parts of 2020 and focus on the good. 


As the school year returns back to normal, many unwanted aspects of school return with it. The early 7:30 start time is a primary concern among Harriton students. Students struggle to stay awake during morning classes and feel tired throughout their day. A 7:30 am start time means that most students wake up as early as 6am to get ready and go to school. When students partake in clubs and sports after school, in addition to mounds of homework, it can be impossible to get to bed early enough for adequate sleep. This results in painfully tired students, and it has them wishing they could go back to doing school from their beds. Despite the fact that many students felt unmotivated to do school from home, many miss it all the same. Last year, students could wake up just five minutes before class, saving them approximately 1-2 hours of sleep which typically resulted in happier and more relaxed students. The truth is that most students aren’t lazy; just sleep deprived.


Due to long in-person school days compounded with various after school activities, students are left with minimal free time. Although students have faced this challenge in previous school years, it feels unfamiliar, as last year we had seemingly unlimited free time. 30 minute breaks and the lack of a commute meant that hours were added back to people’s day. While it was dreading staring at a computer screen all day, there was some enjoyment with all this extra, when we reflect, we realize that we miss the time that we had to ourselves. With many students having crazy schedules this year, many find themselves missing the extra hours that COVID-19 brought them. 


Overall this 2021-2022 school year, Harriton students are feeling more stressed out and overwhelmed due to the unfamiliarity of in-person school. Whether it’s in-person testing, a heavier workload, or being out of the house all day, it is certainly having a negative effect on students. 


The return of in-person testing is causing lots of stress for students since it is so different this year compared to last year’s virtual or open note exams. In my experience, more teachers made tests open note last year to relieve stress, but with this relatively normal year, teachers are restoring their work-loads and testing processes back to normal.


Reflecting on the chaos of the past 18 months, it is evident that many aspects of this chaos are missed by students. But, as we get used to the new normal and return to old practices, this transition becomes easier and we dislike it less and less. Transitions and changes take time, and that is all that is needed for students to start enjoying the regularity of this school year and stop missing the effects of COVID-19.