Rishi Kannan '23
Beep. Beep. Beep. Your alarm wakes you from a night of moderate-quality sleep as you sit down at your desk, quickly adjusting your hair to look presentable on camera. Then, after hours of rotating in and out of Zoom rooms, you once again are at your desk doing more seemingly pointless work, whether it’s math equations or essay writing. Finally, after your homework is complete, you get up from your desk, only to sit back down on your bed to watch YouTube and Netflix to a neverending degree. For many, including me, the cycle of being a true “couch potato” began during the quarantine. I knew I could have stopped, but I had no motivation to break this endless cycle to get up and do something more productive. As a result, initially, to me the new Hybrid model was just another piece of confusing scheduling of which there was no apparent importance. However, after only several days back on the Close, the Hybrid model has reignited the motivation which I desperately needed during virtual learning.
Seeing real faces, not pixels on a computer screen, and the transition to hybrid made me realize exactly how disorganized I had become. Distance Learning was a joyride in and of itself after becoming our reality once we received that notification from the school last March. I was not ready to have such a change in my educational career, but I had no choice but to adjust to the new normal. During these eight months of misery, as I call it, I went nowhere. I saw no one. I barely even thought about what I was doing. This stereotypical “quarantine life” not only ruined the habits I had built up for months in trying to become a better student, but it also led me to not look forward to anything that I did do.
As the date got closer and closer to October 26th, the day the Hybrid model would be implemented, I could feel my excitement bursting out of my veins. I would finally see my classmates in-person, engage with my teachers face-to-face, and walk in the large doors to the Lane-Johnston building. However, the morning of that first day of Hybrid learning, I could not bring myself to get out of bed early like I was going to normal school again, though ironically the getting up led me to have a fantastic “normal” school day. Ok, it was not normal, but it was close enough. I physically moved between classes, chatted with my peers about their own stories during the pandemic, and sat in a real classroom. The transition gave me what I was missing for these past few months – something to look forward to the next day.
This was what did it for me. It was that idea of looking forward that reignited my motivation to succeed after months of putting in the bare minimum. I now look forward to my next class, one, because I literally have to look forward and walk to it, but two, because I get to learn something new in the classroom. I look forward to participating because I could actually raise my hand rather than using the “raise-hand” feature on Zoom. I look forward to having a real social interaction at lunch rather than just playing on my phone. I look forward to the next day, because I know I would be walking, participating, and talking again, though this time, with a greater appreciation for going to school itself.
However, the benefits do not only stop at school, for when I get home, I feel like I can do more than when I was still in distance learning. I can probably accredit this to physically moving to all of my classes, as this allows me to get ready for the next class and feel a little more energized. Previously, I found myself putting out my homework to the side and browsing through YouTube for ages, unable to focus after I got home. Now with going to the physical Close, I feel a new sense of initiative, appreciating that I need to finish tasks in order to feel accomplished and satisfied with my work. While the Hybrid model may not be the perfect scenario in the eyes of everyone, it certainly is a step in the right direction in terms of improving the mindset and learning experience of all students.