The return to “normal” life

What lingering effects of online classes are still impacting students today?

These past few years have been nothing short of overwhelming. From the many obstacles that come with life to the pandemic radically changing the world from what we once knew, everyone has had a rough few years. But how has this impacted us today? How has it changed the way we approach school and social situations?

After two years of being secluded in our homes with a small group of close friends and family, many have been experiencing a bit of shock returning to semi-normal life. With the return to in-person, many students are feeling the effects online classes have had on their learning and social skills. In an article written for BMC Psychology, it was reported that nearly 83.3% of students had increased levels of depression, anxiety, and/or feelings of loneliness. 

It’s no secret that mental health has a huge impact on other aspects of your life, including your academic and social life and physical health. Through BMC Psychology’s survey, it was found that 73.6% of students’ future plans had been affected by the pandemic, with many experiencing job loss or had to take time off of school as a result.  The increase in mental health issues had also directly impacted many students’ academic performance with a staggering 61% of students reporting that it had been more difficult to complete their semester. 

I spoke to UWT student Ashley Leon Guerrero, a junior studying psychology, about their experience with school during the pandemic and how it has changed their education today. Ashley said she felt like she’d missed out on so much having classes be online for her first two years of college as well.  

When asked how the shift back to in-person classes this last year has impacted her, she said the change had been something “bittersweet.” While she had enjoyed the comforts of working from home and having a more flexible schedule, Ashley said she was happy to be able to walk on campus, go to the library and study, and just be in a classroom with others. 

With things changing radically, feelings of anxiety have been high for everyone. Whether it’s worrying about your personal health or someone else’s or adjusting to the way the education system has changed since the pandemic, everyone has had their share of struggles. Ashley shared that the transition to online classes and back to in-person classes had significantly affected her mental health. She said her drive and motivation for school plummeted and that she felt she’d had to “self teach” a lot of the material she was learning, which was stressful. 

It’s been a wild couple of years, especially for those going to school. With limited human contact and teaching strategies changing with the pandemic closing schools, there has been a lot to adjust to. As we make our way back to returning to semi-normal life many are trying to readjust to the life they once knew. Social norms have changed with mask mandates and the use of masks becoming something of the past for many.