The switch from hybrid to remote changed my year

Unnati Bhat, Social Media Manager

The harsh white light hit my face in my dark room, my music played in the background as I stared at my screen. It was past midnight, and I considered my options, hybrid learning or remote learning academy. One-click would seemingly determine my whole year’s experience.

This past summer we were asked to make a decision on whether we wanted to be remote or hybrid for the school year. Many of us consulted our parents, friends, and classmates on this decision. I, for one, was going back and forth between which option to choose. While I was cautious about COVID-19 and was getting used to being comfortable at home, I also missed a sense of routine and seeing my friends.

After careful deliberation, I made the decision to be hybrid. Being an extrovert made it hard to not be able to see my friends, and school was always a great social outlet for me, so it felt like the obvious decision.

But after being a hybrid student for a few months, I slowly came to the realization that I strongly preferred the weeks spent at home and dreaded the mondays where we would return to school.

The November weeks following the switch to remote caused me to feel a variety of emotions. I felt lonely, left out, and isolated at first. I questioned my decision in the first place. I felt estranged from many of my friends as I adapted to long periods of time without seeing them.

But despite this, after a month I started to really love and embrace the remote model. In the hybrid model, the schedule is constantly shifting you back and forth between a more upbeat and quick in-person schedule and versus being at home and having the ability to work more in your personal time.

I was most persuaded by and I truly preferred that. I liked getting up a little later, not having to rush my morning, and not having to see people so early in the day. The schedule purely fitted me and how I saw myself fitting into this crazy year.

Along with a more personalized schedule comes more free time to do homework, eat a snack, or just have some relaxed downtime. There are classes where your teacher will let you out very early, giving you quality time to spend it how you see fit. It puts the priority on your priorities, which has become very appealing to me.

Now along with the malleable schedule, I also switched to remote because of one of the more obvious reasons, nervousness, and fear of COVID-19. Recently, I became more and more cautious as the cases rose during the Holiday season, which was right around the time I switched to RLA.

What really made me uncomfortable was the mask breaks. I was fine with the extended passing time and a safe way to make sure you don’t feel suffocated, but no one really followed the rules. Kids wearing masks were cramped close together.

With so many being of my peers being so close with no masks, cases were bound to increase. WA now sends home a COVID-19 letter weekly.  The worry that I may be next to get the virus was almost enough for me to switch, seeing so many around me get or almost get COVID-19 is worrying.

The final and maybe most unexpected reason why I switched was due to the hybrid model simply not meeting my expectations of what I thought it would be. Due to this, I found it not worth it to continue.

By this, I mean that the in-class activities were practically the same if you were home, but instead you just sat at a school desk and did them. Everything takes place on a Chromebook, even chemistry labs. All the exciting activities that had made in-person school fun, had vanished.

This caused my perception of normalcy that I managed to somewhat find in the hybrid model, to slowly break down. It seemed as if schooling would never be enjoyable again.

Certainly, class discussions were still possible, but technical issues and being divided from someone you’re trying to communicate with can make simple things such as Socratic seminars feel abnormal and extraneous.

Ultimately, my switch to remote was due to circumstances out of anyone’s control. With this school year’s drastic change experiencing any sort of normalcy is rare. So, I decided to just try both models to see what fits me best. I chose hybrid for various reasons many being social, but the reasons I chose remote were more natural to me and more informed.

Remote learning has allowed me to feel more comfortable in a time that is anything but that. I just hope whichever learning model you picked you’re comfortable in. If not, make the switch. It worked for me.