How Distance Learning Changed My Attitude Towards In-Person School


Ale Lewis '23

Before COVID -19 spread to Connecticut, I took the normalcy of day-to-day life for granted. Initially, I was not disappointed about the closing of school because the days were becoming tiring and stressful leading up to March exams. On the evening school went online, I FaceTimed my friends with enthusiasm.  We planned to hang out every day and attend Zoom meetings from each other’s houses.  Sadly, our vision did not work out as planned. The whole state of Connecticut went into lockdown mode.  My friends and I no longer left our homes due to the risk and fear.  As my time confined at home extended, I became more conscious of the severity of the situation. 

We all know the well-used line parents give us about how we should appreciate school.  My parents preach how lucky I am to have the opportunity to go to school while I’m complaining about my math work at the dinner table.  I was always grateful to go to such a great school, but I never understood the magnitude of its influence on my life until it was gone.  The school environment not only makes learning more enjoyable but it makes me feel supported.  Looking back, I realize how many normal things I took for granted; saying hi to friends in the halls, locker talks with the person next to me, side conversations with classmates during first period, and hugging friends.  Online, those great school moments were stripped away.   

It was hard to adjust to many aspects of online academics. For one, participation in class was more difficult. I had a hard time staying engaged for a forty-minute class, especially with home distractions. My dad decided that the month of April would be a good time to re-roof our house, so workers were often drilling right outside my window during Biology. I didn’t know when to speak up or sit back and listen to the lesson. Seeing my friends on Zoom but not being able to talk to them was a challenging experience. I missed eating lunch with my friends and laughing during classes together. 

While it’s only the sixth day of school, I am happy to be back.  Thanks to the lessons COVID-19 has taught me, I am taking advantage of every opportunity to see and talk to my friends. I  am also trying extra hard to make connections with people outside my immediate friend group.  When school ended, I was disappointed that I couldn’t see familiar faces in the hallway, because it was really hard to stay in touch with people who weren’t my best friends. I now realize how important those secondary relationships are in my daily life.  

With the plastic barriers, spaced out desks, and the entire population in masks, the school looks a lot different from last year.  However, St. Luke’s is doing an amazing job keeping us safe while allowing us to maintain student connections. 185,000 Americans have died from the virus, and I don’t want to pretend like I can relate to that level of loss.  But I can associate with the millions of people feeling isolated.  These past six months of confusion and anxiety have had a silver lining.  I’ll never complain about the hallway traffic again.