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Being absent in a virtual world

Editorial by


Messenger Staff

I’ve always been worried about missing school. Making up all the work I’ve missed, catching up on lessons, it’s not fun, and it always feels like it just sets me further behind. It’s a stressful situation missing school, especially when you’re in AP and Honors classes where the pace is so much faster than normal. Currently, my stress levels are definitely sitting above where they would be for normal school, and they’ve just been steadily rising with the fact that I’ll be getting my wisdom teeth out this week.

Like I said, missing school normally is already very stressful, but virtually it’s a completely new level. In-person, it was so much easier to communicate with your teachers and work out what exactly you would need to do once you come back. But with online schooling, the stress of missing class has turned out to be so much more than usual. Luckily, the days I’m missing are planned out in advance, so I’ve had time to get more work than usual to make up for the days I’ll be missing. However, if I had gotten sick, missed an unexpected amount of days, I can’t imagine how much stress I would be under.

Obviously, my teachers have been very understanding, but it does nothing to ease the anxiety of falling behind. Sometimes it feels as if there’s never enough time in the day to get all my work done and that’s when I’m caught up! So, imagine the stress I feel about having to make up work as well as stay on top of it. One of the hardest things about online schooling for me is somehow keeping focus but also finding a balance. I tend to overwork myself. Working more than resting during the day, which can stem from the fact that I find it hard to focus on the work, making it ten times harder to get completed on time. I’ve managed to power through some extra work to make up for the 3-4 days I’ll be losing for recovery of my surgery, but that’s not the only factor to my stress.

Content, while not impossible to catch up on, is much harder now to do so. So far in virtual schooling I had to miss one class, and the teacher sent me a slideshow to use to catch up on the lesson I’d missed. Unfortunately for me, the slideshow came with no further reading or video with a lecture. I had no idea what half of the questions on the assignment we were given were talking about even though I was looking at the lesson while doing it! Without being there for the teacher to explain it, or somehow finding time to talk to the teacher outside of class, there is no way to catch up on content taught in a Meet or Zoom. That’s honestly what I’m most concerned about with the at least two days of class I’m missing. I’m in three AP classes and I’m not sure how far back missing out on those lessons and discussions will set me.

As I write this it is the night before my surgery, and I can honestly say I’m more stressed about missing school than I am about getting the four extra teeth yanked out of my head tomorrow. As to whether that’s a testament to how my brain works, or to how much stress students are under currently, well… The jury’s still out on that.