After a long yet quick year at SLA, students from different grades have experienced many new things they weren’t able to experience during the 2020-2021 online academic year.
After almost 10 months of being back in school, students have encountered difficulties and new experiences that further molded how the rest of their academic year would be.
Currently SLA students are going through their fourth quarter before the end of the school year and the beginning of the long awaited summer break. With this being the last quarter before summer break, students are experiencing ups and downs with their motivation and productivity towards their final major assignments.
After returning to in person schooling, students from all grades reported both highs and lows from the transition.
Sophomore Rae Alexander had some mixed feelings about her overall experience, which were heavily influenced by what happened last year, during Zoom school.
“My academic year has been good but it is not as good as it can be. But it is also not as bad as it has been in the past,” said Alexander. “Last year was unusually easy for me, so when I came into this year, I expected the same experience. In the future I’ll try to come into the new academic year expecting more to furthermore prepare myself for the challenges of the new year.”
Freshman Eleanor Palmer, another SLA student who came back after being online for almost two years explains her experience during this year.
“I think this year academic wise, it has been a little bit rocky at times because of getting back into the whole in person school situation after being in online school for two years, so it was kinda hard to get into the groove but after a while, I fell into a routine and it felt more easier.” Said Palmer.
Students had their fair shares of experiences, though, throughout this academic year, attendance has had its share of ups and downs, which has impacted the student experience.
“Attendance in January was very poor since we had an increase in covid cases, so a lot of students were not coming to school,” said SLA Climate Manager Tara Ryans. “ A trend now is that before the start of spring break, there were quite a bit of absences since many students’ families went on vacation.”
Experiences During Recent Quarters-
“First quarter was horrible, I had no friends, and I wasn’t prepared for the work being given out,” said Alexander about the start of this year. Second quarter was better because I decided to do things differently. Third quarter was alright, I spent too much time with friends and not doing work.”
“I’ve been more motivated during the second quarter as we talked about our careers,” she added about the flow of the year. “That influenced me to come up with new ideas and know the structure of where I want to go with my life.”
Though these recent quarters have been balanced, Alexander fears that the last quarter will be tougher.
“Last year’s fourth quarter was light. Everyone was chill at the end. But for this year, I feel like it will be more overwhelming with more work.” Explained Alexander.
A big factor of motivation and productivity decrease has been the change of weather and load of work.
“I think it is very typical for students to lose their motivation as the warmer weather comes along with the end of the school year,” added Ms. Ryans. “I wouldn’t say I see students who aren’t motivated, I see more exhaustion. I think people, including students and staff, are becoming kinda split during this time of the year.”
As Ms. Ryans believes that the upcoming warmer weather and end of school year is affecting students’ workflow, there are others like freshman Palmer that believes that the colder winter affects students’ workflow.
Palmer added how different seasons affected her workflow and experience during quarters.
“The first two quarters were pretty steady, but the third quarter was during winter and it was a lot to deal with. Winter is usually just hard for me so that was my biggest difficulty. I do think this quarter has been going pretty well so far.” Said Palmer
“Some of my errors have been to not actually try to do the work. I changed my work setting. This helped me with my workflow.” Said Palmer
How to Improve-
Everyone interviewed for this article had advice on how to beat the challenge of a hard year.
“Write down the work you have to do. Make sure to try and keep yourself on task even if it is hard,” said Palmer. “I think setting short goals and tasks you can complete pretty easily will help you feel successful.”
To be able to look at the final picture Ms. Ryans, shared her thoughts on how to achieve this.
“Sometimes you lose motivation because you become overwhelmed with everything that needs to happen or assignments that need to be completed,” said Ms. Ryans. But, if you look at the bigger picture, I think you can be more successful and that can help you become more motivated.”
But of course, working for long periods of time can become exhausting. Having time off for yourself and your interests can help with your overall maintenance during the academic year.
“I would also suggest spending time doing things you enjoy, and making a point to include fun things.” Added Ms. Ryans
And when nothing else works, there’s always the short-term rewards.
“During past quarters, I was able to set this system that I would reward myself after doing specific tasks with snacks,” said Alexander. “Basically food motivation.”