The Sophomore Struggle

Online Learning Has Changed Students and Their Learning Habits


Lillian Zieger

Students in Mr. Blakes class are learning about how cell size affects diffusion by doing a lab that consist of placing sample cells into a “nutrient solution” and documenting what they see.

The concern is with having the last year and a half or so online, students [sophomores in particular] have a lower motivation level and a higher procrastination level. This is because it was their freshman year online, which makes it harder for the students to adjust to high school now [in person].
“I did okay but I feel like I struggled more because it wasn’t in person,” sophomore Isabella Ferrel said.
Since students were at home, many found it difficult to stay motivated, and on task to get their work completed.
“Being at home and in my bed made me less motivated to do anything. I just tried to tell myself that I’d fail if I didn’t do my work,” Ferrel said.
With the pandemic from the spread of COVID-19 last year, students had to revert to online learning through zoom, and other online platforms.
“I feel like motivation across all kids,” sophomore math teacher Steve Durant said. “Not just the sophomores is super hard. I think it has been two years of not having any accountability or responsibility.”
While participating online, it was easier for students to cheat; either by using apps on their phone, having notes available, or simply just using google.
“Everybody wants to photomath the answer,” Durant said. “They want to play on their phone, or keep their earphones in, because they feel that it affects their learning.”
During the online learning students had to learn time management, and assignments also could be due at midnight rather than the end of what would be a normal school day/class period.
“For instance, what used to take one class period takes four, which it should not. That’s across the board, usually about three times longer now compared to pre online learning,” Durant said.
Many students prefer in-person learning over online learning for multiple reasons.
“I prefer in person school,” Ferrel said. “The teachers make it easier to learn and comprehend the material.”
Now that students are in person, it is important for them to realize that online learning is not how high school was run pre-pandemic.
“I feel like in person school is a lot more,” Ferrel said. “Like the workload and pressure.”
It is key for students to have a positive and open mindset going into this year so that they can get into the swing of what would be more like a normal school year.
“I’m pretty confident that it is going to be a great year,” sophomore Austin Harper said. “I’ve decided to study a little more than usual, because I feel like this year will be harder than normal.”
Students can also create goals for themselves to help them keep themselves on the path to success.
“My goal for myself this year is to have all A’s,” Ferrel said.
Online learning affects students’ mental health, which can cause students to feel less motivated and less eager to do their work compared to in-person learning.
“Nearly 25% of parents whose children received virtual instruction or combined instruction reported worsened mental or emotional health in their children, compared to 16% of parents whose children received in-person instruction.” CNN Health said.
Not only is it important for students to stay motivated and driven to do their best, but teachers have to as well.
“You can get down as an educator too,” sophomore biology teacher David Blake said. “But we have a great staff here and we converse all the time with each other, we help one another in that department of staying up.”
Online learning was a massive change for students and teachers to make, now with this experience they can learn and grow from it.
“I’m more lenient with cell phone use, where you sit, due dates, and when things are turned in. That’s all because of the zoom and pandemic learning,” Durant said.
It is important that the sophomore class and all students keep their heads up, stay driven, and put effort into everything that they do to help them become a success in life.
“Nobody wants to be that guy, so don’t be that guy,” Durant said.