Being an Online OCSA Student During The Pandemic

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Me standing on top of my bed frame, next to a globe.

Daniel Linares, Reporter

Going to school during the pandemic has been an interesting experience, from March of last year to May of this one, because I never actually attended class itself. Doing school online put a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, responsibility that I couldn’t handle. The absolute freedom given during the latter end of online last school year, allowed me to pull through with my grades. However, the more structured and deadline focused class structure of this year, didn’t grant me the same privilege. This is no fault of my teachers, for the teachers who had to give classes and assignments online were the ones struggling the most. Not from my own eyes, but those of a student who took in-person classes, told me how hard the pandemic has been on teachers. Teachers who had to convert their entire classroom setting for online learning. Although, we do not go to the same school, judging from what teachers have told me and from what I’ve seen through these digital classrooms; it is very clear that these teachers have been working their butts off more than ever and getting little-to-no recognition for it. Any failures I’ve experienced throughout this school year fall not upon the amazing teachers, who did their best during such rough circumstances, but from me.

From the beginning of August, I thought confidently in my abilities to do well this school year. As I, and many others, do the start of every school year. Although the events of the past might be foggy, I believed I could adapt to the online environment and be successful. Despite the fact that taking online class through OCSA, was the choice I wanted least. Originally, I wanted to take classes in-person, however, my parents didn’t let me, on the account that I had trouble eating during lunch, which they believed would leave me malnourished. Then, I wanted to take Osceola Virtual, but when my parents found out that I would be leaving OCSA if I chose that option, I couldn’t go (Well, it was more like I missed the deadline, but still). So, the last option that remained for me was this one. But why was this the order of what I wanted for schooling during the pandemic? Well, I wanted to take in-person mostly because of my experience from taking online school the year prior. I thought that in-person would allow me to focus on my work more. When that was no longer an option, I chose Osceola Virtual because the freedom it would give me would be similar to that of online during the last school year, which allowed me to pass at the end. Online through OCSA was my least wanted option, because it didn’t have the right environment (for me) to get work done, nor the freedom to complete work in a way that suited my brain’s schedule.

My hardest trials were group projects because they were the ones I put the most effort into. Although I did not help much during my first group project for Spanish 2, every subsequent group project for every other class I’d work as hard as I can. Letting myself down is one thing, but if there’s one thing I hate, it’s dragging down others with my failures. I deserved every bad grade, every misfortune I experienced this year, however, my classmates did not. Whether it’d be taking the wheel on a project (which if you know anything about online class, no one talks or says much but rather sits in silence), pushing myself to complete my portion to the best of my ability, or covering for others who couldn’t, it was one of the few times I’d pushed myself this year. Presentations with stricter deadlines also had me push myself. When you put not only academic pressure on someone but social pressure as well, they’ll be more likely to stay in line. It’s part of the reason why it’s easier to study in areas like libraries, and why universities tend to have higher scores than their online-only counterparts. There would be a topic that I didn’t exactly know how to cover, so I’d present it in a way that was most comfortable and enjoyable for me (not exactly easier, but in a way that I’d be more interested and invested in).

The only benefits I could think of online school is that it would be an easier version of what I could already do in-person. Giving the right answer (or wrong answer) in Math class, taking notes in Newspaper, contributing, learning, interacting with others, and learning as much as I could and sharing what I’ve learned with others. The most enjoyable parts were the ones in which I had “human” interaction with others, and honestly, the formality of the academic setting made it more fun than online chat rooms at times. Also, the students were people who are in similar positions as I, and having to at least somewhat interact with them throughout the year was really fun, even if extremely limited. If one good thing came out of online school, it was the feeling that all my peers were equal to one another.

This year taught me that if I can push past the barrier that is the fear of failure, the discomfort of not being able to make something that’s perfect, and if I can attain the perquisite to success that is commitment to myself and what I care about, I can reach great heights. The strict self-discipline of forcing myself into a work mode is a great struggle, but when I’m able to push myself past that, I legitimately enjoy the process. That enjoyment is something I completely forgot about. The biggest thing I learned this year and what I’m going to remember for the next, is that I should accept failure with open arms, instead of running from the possibility. What I must remember most, is the passion I felt every time I dedicated myself to an assignment. For that passion within a few minutes, is more valuable than any false gratification I could give myself for an eternity. To attain grit, one needs drive, and mine is to grow myself for the sake of growth itself.