The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Virtual learning, social distancing postponed real college experience

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

I always thought my college experience would be the best years of my life, but the pandemic deflated those dreams.

Learning is a critical aspect of growing into a functional human being in today’s society. Remote school is hindering my ability to receive the full benefits from my education.

Online learning has caused many students to struggle and fall behind in their workload. This could cause issues when returning to in-person classes because students may not be at the academic level expected of their age.

The idea of first meeting my professors and classmates who share the same interests excited me, but it’s been difficult to make those connections over Zoom.

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Critical social skills have also been negatively impacted by the lack of social interaction caused by online learning.

Social interaction improved learning by enhancing knowledge of literacy and reading and their critical thinking and problem-solving skills,” according to a study by the faculty of Missouri State University.

Before the pandemic, it felt natural to experience social interactions.

However, I spent over a year in distance learning. I now find myself overwhelmed by simple tasks like ordering food at a restaurant. I’m beginning to forget the simple rules of society. 

Every major population group has encountered adverse mental health effects due to the restrictions put in place during the pandemic.

Social skills aren’t the only thing affected. Average SAT scores dropped the year of the pandemic from 1059 to 1051.

As stress over education partnered with dwindling social skills and mental health create negative associations with learning.

It may be hard for students to switch from eight hours on a computer to in-person school.

During my first year of online learning, I started falling behind in classes that once excited me. 

The online curriculum inhibited my learning from the lack of academic support.

This creates major obstacles as students aren’t receiving the education needed to excel in standardized testing and college preparations.

Besides the social aspect, it may be hard for students to switch from eight hours on a computer to in-person school. Technology is highly addictive and students may encounter withdrawals from lack of screen time. 

However, the intense screen time will be replaced with social interactions which is significant for a developing brain.

While the transition back into in-person learning may be difficult, the benefits will be extremely positive.

I’m looking forward to feeling the community in a classroom once again.

Students will once again be able to experience face-to-face interactions to help improve gaps caused by online learning and rebuild their social skills.

As the quality of education is the most important factor for our citizens of tomorrow it’s critical to discuss our methods of learning today.

The idea of needing to discuss methods of education outside of a classroom once seemed implausible. Distance learning has produced a new set of challenges in attempting to develop the minds of the young.

While this year is a testament to the growing pains necessary to induce change, it’s also forced us to come together and work toward creating a better future.

This year has been nothing like the college experience I dreamt of… but it has made me hopeful for the future years when we can rejoice in each other’s company again.

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