In Person schooling increases, alleviates some anxieties

Andrew Stauter, Reporter

On March 23, 2020, Illinois shifted remote learning due to the Coronavirus pandemic, which contributed to an increase in anxiety among students. Students remained in online learning for the rest of that year and the beginning of next year. 

On October 6, 2020, students were able to go to blended learning which was being able to go to school but with restrictions such as social distancing and mask mandates. While blended learning was an improvement, it did not wholly alleviate the anxiety levels among students.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that gathers data on health within the U.S., “During the pandemic, more than 25% of high school students reported worsened emotional and cognitive health” 

Senior Ben Kresl said returning to in-school learning helped with his anxiety.

“I think it (returning to school) has definitely helped a lot,”  Kresl said. “My effort and motivation went down really fast, and I became anxious about my quality of work and how eventually coming back to school would put me behind because online school wasn’t helping me learn, and it was hard putting in effort, so it caused me not to learn as much as I should’ve.”

Kresl said classes were harder when he had to take them online. He eventually dropped his AP chemistry class because it was hard for him to do the labs online and he couldn’t keep up with what they were doing.

“Remote learning really affected all aspects of my life,” Kresl said. “It was harder to communicate with friends when you were fully remote because you really only talked to people when you were in school with them. I felt like my relationship with people got worse or ended because I wasn’t able to talk to them. My GPA got a lot worse because I’m a hands-on learner and having to go through remote learning was really hard for me.”

The absence of strong internet service or limited access to social media compounded anxiety for some through disconnection.  The seeming loss of friendships really messed with some individuals’ anxiety. This social anxiety was not immediately relieved as students returned to school.

“I was excited at first to be in the building, but after a couple of days I was starting to get afraid of people and was afraid I would get sick,” senior Andrew Ogunmokun said. “After a little bit of time, I started to get used to it again and started to enjoy coming back to school.”

It only took a little bit of time for Ogunmokun to come back and face his anxiety by coming back to school full time.

“Another way I was able to help control my anxiety coming back to school was being around my closest friends and being able to talk to them about anything and trying to connect with people in the real world again,” Ogunmokun said.

While Ogunmokun relied on friendships to ease his worries, there are other ways people were able to control their anxiety.

“I went to go sit in the library or quiet study room and just decompress,” senior Kara Weldy said. “It felt nice to just be by myself in a quiet place.”

Despite the uncertainties that persist, Kresl is grateful to be fully in person.

“I’m just glad to be back in school.”