By Ella Messih, Staff Writer
It’s a Wednesday morning. I roll out of bed to check my phone, and the clock reads 10:30. I slowly make my way out of bed with ease, not a care in the world. Life is good. How could I complain with the current online school climate due to Covid-19, when what used to be my biggest challenge and anxiety generator is now the easiest thing in the world. The latest hot topic seems to be all the negative aspects of online learning: the redundant and obsessive complaints from teachers, peers and parents seem to convey the same few downfalls: loss of social life and motivation for school work. While oftentimes the negative effects of online learning outweigh the good, it is important to evaluate the mental health benefits on students that have resulted from Covid-19.
With social anxiety growing more and more common amongst Gen Zers, high school often poses as a main catalyst for mental health issues in teens. Surrounded with an immense group of teenagers our age as we navigate our way through our education while also trying to be validated and accepted by those around us is evidently stressful.
Summit junior Gaby Malk expressed her gratitude and ease with online school.
“I feel an overwhelming amount of peace since we’ve switched to online school,” Malk said. “Online learning has increased the time I’m able to spend with my family and for self reflecting.”
Akin to Malk, another Storm junior, Charlotte Kincaid, verbalized her experience with improved mental health throughout online learning.
“Through the pandemic, I am finally able to have time to myself and be able to grow and mature on my own.” Kincaid said.
We’re all familiar with the struggle of waking up early and dressing to impress, in other words, to display the unattainable beauty standard to feel accepted by those around us. Kincaid also realized a decrease in insecurity, as online school has restricted the amount of time we can spend comparing ourselves to one another.
“Online school has given me a whole new perspective,” Kincaid said. “It’s almost like when we’re at home we don’t have to comply with the social norms and the constant cycle of comparison to peers.”
Adding to the mental health benefits of remote learning, increased sleep enables students more energy to complete tasks throughout the day. According to a study from Johns Hopkins University, additional sleep supports teens developing brains as well as physical growth spurts. It helps teens protect themselves from serious bad habits such as depression or drug use.
“It’s nice to get more sleep and not worry about getting ready.” Kincaid said. “When I get more sleep I’m less anxious, I used to always get headaches from not getting enough sleep because I was staying up way too late doing my homework and waking up so early, but since March I haven’t had many headaches.” Kincaid said.
In addition to physical health, Kincaid expressed her gratitude for the much needed “time-off” online school has enabled.
“Online school was kind of a breather for me and I was able to mature and better my mental health while being at home” Kincaid said. “In the long run, I will long back on the online school era of 2020 and be thankful.”
While all students have experienced various ups and downs following the transition to online schooling, several mental health benefits have relayed positive effects on students of all ages and calibers.