Truth be told, shy sophomore not sure she wants to go back to regular school February 7, 2021 — by Anjali Pai Permalink Almost a year ago, I found out that in-person school was canceled. Though not thrilled to be living through a pandemic, I didn’t mind the idea of online school. As an introvert, I prefer avoiding constant social interactions. Not having to go through the usual in-person interactions felt like a weight lifted off my shoulders. Gone was the usual anxiety that in-person school gave me. As the online model continued this year, I have thrived. To begin, I discovered that the Zoom format gave me newly found confidence. As “the quiet kid” in my class, I’m often reluctant to speak out in class discussions. But now, with a wider variety of ways to participate in the online model, including my personal favorite, the chat feature, I have found myself contributing to class discussions more than before. In fact, I participated a whole four times in our “Julius Caesar” Socratic Seminar, something I would have been unlikely to do in person. With normal school, every morning was a struggle. After running on way less than the recommended hours of sleep, I had to get up much earlier than I do now, rush to eat breakfast (sometimes having to skip it altogether), scramble to pack my lunch for school and sit in the dreaded traffic, only to be late for school. Online school relieves the overwhelming anxiety I used to feel when sitting in traffic each morning, not knowing whether I would be late to class. I could always picture everyone staring at me as I made the walk of shame to my desk after arriving 5 minutes late. But now, I don’t even have to get fully ready if I’m feeling really tired or having a lazy day. I can wake up 15 minutes before class, grab some food and log onto Zoom. This way, I get to sleep way more and eat a sufficient breakfast without being stressed about being late. Another perk of online school is the abundance of privacy. Where I used to be reluctant to interrupt the silence of in-person class with a sneeze or cough, get up to go to the bathroom, or even get up during a lesson to get a tissue, Zoom allows me to discreetly mute myself quickly and avoid the awkward stares I would otherwise receive. To prolong these perks that come with online learning even after the pandemic has ended, SHS should consider incorporating the online format into regular school. For example, in order to give students more time in the morning to eat and get ready, the high school should conduct morning classes virtually. Then, students can start arriving at school during tutorial and stay there the rest of the school day. This way, students can still enjoy some physical social interaction, which is necessary after spending almost a year in solitude. Another option that would appeal to introverted students is to incorporate more blended learning into classes. With blended learning, students can use their personal technology, like their phones, to respond to prompts or questions brought up in class. In doing this, students can participate in a way that is more comfortable to them and gradually increase their confidence in sharing their own ideas at their own pace.