Of my 17 credit hours, only one requires me to show up in-person, and another makes it optional. Needless to say, I am stuck staring at a computer screen for most of my days, contemplating “yeeting” my computer out the window. I quite literally scream with frustration after every recorded lecture, staring at a professor who is not staring back at me.
What comes from this virtual learning is a variety of problems including increased tiredness, lack of interest, lack of motivation, increased neglect of my own health … and the screaming, as well. Overall, I feel insecure about my future. It is no secret, then, that my favorite class is one which allows me the opportunity to show up, in-person.
When I say increased tiredness, I am not talking about the need for more sleep. My eyes always feel heavy, my head always feels dizzy like I have not had enough to eat, and I wish I could lay in bed and suck up enough energy, but it just does not work.
So, what is the issue then? I am not one to presume causation from correlation, but how come I used to feel happy and energized every morning, ready for my day back in February, and then started to notice this intense onset of drowsiness and inability to sleep since March? Sure, there are endless variables, but the one thing that ties it all together is the start of virtual learning.
My interest in the classes that I take has never been lower than they are now. Last semester, I thought I wanted to double major in political science and psychology, but this online format has changed the way I think about psychology as a field. I even dropped one asynchronous psych class because of the vast amount of work I had to put into it, and with my interest in the subject teetering off a ledge, it would not have been worth the stress.
Motivation could not be harder to maintain. The thing about in-person classes is that there is an incentive to show up, sit down and take notes. It is easier to invest yourself in the material when you are in an environment built to help you, when you see your peers and are further motivated by their work ethic, when you can actually engage with your professor about the topic and discuss the information in the same space.
Now, no one says you cannot be invested in the material in an online format, but there is not anyone telling you that you can either. I feel as if the lack of in-person options this semester hurt students, at least those like me that have a hard time sitting down and telling themselves to watch their lectures.
But it is not just my classes where my motivation has dropped this semester. It is my desire to go for a run that has slowly disappeared, and I lose an arm and a leg just making myself go to the gym. Grocery shopping is harder. Waking up for work feels impossible. I want to hang out with my friends, even with the COVID-19 shaped hoops we have to jump through now, but it sometimes feels too exhausting rather than fun.
I stay inside so much lately that I have not even thought of my own health. I am overdue for a doctor’s appointment, that is for sure. But outside of that, each day I do not go to the gym is another day I spend hating myself, which opens a whole whirlwind of depreciating mental health.
And if I hear another person say that I need to take care of myself, including UCCS faculty… I will probably just cry, but you get the point. I am trying, but I tend to forget because I am too focused on deadlines, assignments and taking tests on time to worry about much else.
For the greatest bread winner of all, I feel like my future is insecure. Online classes, specifically in the asynchronous format, make it harder to get to know my professors. What happens when I need letters of recommendation, but none of my professors had much else than a few virtual meetings with me, that had to be made by appointment?
On top of that, online classes are making me despise being a double major. I just want to graduate and be done at this point, but what if I make the wrong decision, all because of my asynchronous classes?
Overall, my stress level is beyond anything I have ever felt, and I never stop thinking about what my life would be like right now if UCCS were able to have more in-person options for classes.