‘My Experience of Remote Learning’- Ciarán Nolan
School as a whole is a very fickle and dynamic place, one day you can feel really good about the productive and interesting day you’ve had and on the other you can feel like you are at rock bottom, desperately trying to climb your way back up. On the plus side, I get to go outside, see my friends every day, and try to have as much fun as possible but on the other hand its school, you can feel tired, bored, mentally drained, exhausted or any other adjective I could use to describe that feeling of walking into school on a Monday morning. Now take out the plus side from that and that pretty much sums up school during lockdown.
The last thing I remember from school was finishing the Christmas exams, feeling relieved and overjoyed that I got them over and done with it and that I could spend the next two weeks or so relaxing and playing video games with my friends. So far, school was going pretty well under the circumstances and I was somewhat excited to go back but at that time I was naive, I didn’t realize that I would be put back in the same situation I was back in March of the same year. I was in Transition Year in the first lockdown so I didn’t really know the full experience of online schooling and didn’t know what to expect either but boy was I glad I didn’t. I can distinctly remember when the government announced we would be put back into online school, I felt torn, devastated, and quite frankly depressed from the scenario the world has put us in. It felt like my brain had turned upside-down and all the enthusiastic and aspiring thoughts I had, went down the gutter as soon as I heard the news. “Maybe I’m being dramatic,” I thought to myself and that it wouldn’t be as bad as I was thinking it would be and in some ways that were right but overall through my experience, the con’s trumped the pro’s.
Now to actually get on with my experience. On the first day, I was still upset in the same way before but I was more nervous than upset, I had a jittery feeling in my stomach and I was curious to see how I would approach this new circumstance. It wasn’t as bad as I first thought but that was only the first day and as time went on I was more eager to go back to school, there is a sentence I never thought I would say.
My brother was in the exact same boat as me and we both felt stressed and irritated that we would have to deal with this for an unknown amount of time. That was a frightening thought, not knowing when we would be back, not knowing if we would ever be back for the year, and having that anxiety of my education being twisted and turned for an indefinite amount of time. Anyway back to my experience, I felt trapped as time went on having to spend half of my day staring at a screen absorbing all this information as if I was still in the classroom myself. Some days felt like they were repeating themselves like in a simulated reality that I could not escape. My experience could be defined as insanity, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. The actual classes themselves weren’t bad except for those awkward moments when the teacher would ask a question and no one would answer or when two people would talk at the same time and then both would stop at the same time leaving a painful pause at the end and then the class would continue as if nothing had happened.
Obviously, the main reason I missed school was not being able to see my friends as they were the reason I enjoyed going to school as much as I should have. In fact, it was just seeing other people that made me want to go back to school, watching other people live their normal lives gave me hope for the future, and knowing that they are stuck in their rooms just like I made me distressed and dull.
However, there were some good things about going to school at home. For one, I didn’t have to get up as early and I could get an extra hour of precious sleep I desperately needed. Another positive was that I could lie in my bed when there was no class and watch Netflix and Youtube without having to wear those irritating face masks. It was also a bonus that I didn’t have to wear my uniform which I was probably most happy about. I would try to get outside every now and then and go for walks in my local park during PE trying to keep myself healthy considering I spent the majority of my time sitting at the end of my bed and staring at a screen for six to seven hours a day. It was these little things that made my experience somewhat enjoyable but 100% I would go back to school if given the chance without thinking about it twice.
My experience during the lockdown has had highs and lows ( mainly lows) and it has taught me how much we need and rely on each other during these deplorable and troublesome times. We need to stay strong and give our maximum effort if we want to get through this and make sure that we end up on the winner’s side.