Sylvanus’s COVID Story
My final silver lining, though one which everyone won’t see as a silver lining, is that I can talk in class because of the masks.
One piece of advice I can give after living through this pandemic is that ‘it will all come to pass.’ It may be more of a consolation, though. We’re still in the pandemic, but there was a point I thought it would last forever, but it’s come to pass. I had certain privileges that made it easier for me to get through it like the house has a lot of space, so it’s not like I was missing going outdoors. And also, it’s not like I like leaving the house anyway, so it was just OK. It was a bit odd having to live with everyone again, but it was enjoyable even if it wasn’t from the best of situations. Another piece of advice is ‘don’t take things too seriously.’ This is especially because of online school.
I discovered that I do better at physical exams than online exams, which was mind-blowing. With the physical exams, I like that I go into a room, and that’s it. I also like having a physical booklet with me because I can highlight important stuff and draw on the paper when I’m bored. One of the things that made it harder for the online exams was that there were people who were cheating. You know that there are people who’ll pass you who wouldn’t have otherwise, and it feels unfair because they don’t deserve it. Like yeah, they worked for those marks, but they didn’t work hard or smart – they worked cunningly. And because of the cheating thing, sometimes teachers had to find ways around it. For example, my Physics teacher shuffled the exam questions in an exam with lead questions. So it was like “using your data from number one”, but which number one? It completely messed me up, and I just failed that exam.
The thing about online learning is that it’s not something you just pick up. Not all of the teachers were good at teaching online. One person I can say was adaptable was my Maths teacher. He translated the way he teaches physically to an online class fairly smoothly. I felt like I wasn’t losing any ground with the subject. But for other subjects, I feel like all those topics we covered are up to divine intervention. For the students, the thing about being in 8-4-4 is that technology (iPads, phones, tablets etc.) is more of an escape than something already integrated into the curriculum. It’s what we use to take a break. So using technology to learn is something most of us didn’t take seriously. I had access to my phone/tablet all day, so it was a lot of time spent chatting with friends, even during classes. It’s like 8-4-4 is not meant to be taught through any medium other than physical interaction.
After experiencing online classes in 8-4-4 and going back to learning amid a pandemic when the minister of education is talking about lost years and recovering them, I’ve realized it’s mostly detrimental. It’s given me the ability to openly acknowledge that our education system is a terrible one. There is so little benefit and much that could be changed and bettered. We need to talk about 8-4-4’s failings. For example, exams are life-changing, and it’s normal for people to worry about life-changing things, but is it really OK for a student to still be panicking about an exam they’ve already done? Even years later? That’s tough.
Even with the pandemic, I had a lot of silver linings. First, my sisters were home for the first time in a long time. We hadn’t really lived together since around 2015. The second silver lining was being away from certain individuals in school; it was getting tiring being around them. Though I think that period made some people mellow out because when I went back to school, it seemed like some of the people I couldn’t stand before had become more tolerable. I also got to take a break from just school itself because it was exhausting.
Some of my friendships really bloomed, and they’re still thriving right now, which is nice. I got to make online friends outside of school, and we still talk, which is cool. Our common thing is we belong to the same fandoms. It’s nice because there are certain things I’m a fan of, but there are not many people here who follow them or know them. So it’s nice to know people I can connect with and share the news with over these things.
Another silver lining is that I explored more of my interests like we cooked a lot; it was fun. I discovered a sort of interest in making videos, like cutting up videos and putting them together. That’s also when I joined my church choir, meaning I got to sing outside of school.
I also discovered that my sleeping habits were bad. They’re improving, but very minutely. Now I sleep a set number of hours, at least six hours, but what I’m working on currently is falling asleep earlier.
My final silver lining, though one which everyone won’t see as a silver lining, is that I can talk in class because of the masks. I already talk so much, but now I can actually just look at the teacher and say things in a low tone, and my deskmates will hear me and get me.