If you search education in pandemic times as a keyword on Google, you will come across some of the best research works and article pieces. These articles state that during the pandemic education world thrived; it offered a new perspective on the education system allowing everyone to learn on a level playing field. There is no doubt that it worked as an equalizer but no one will mention to you that this equalization came at the expense of bright minds.
In case you do not get it, allow me to elaborate. I was a high school student in 2020, going through my crucial years as I was about to take one of the most defining steps in my life i.e. working on my entrance essay.
From exploring science in real life and meeting my friends daily, I was pushed into isolation depending on the online Zoom classes where my only way of seeking advice from my teachers was to ask questions via text messages. Most of my teachers regardless of how good they were in their respective fields were going through extreme transition and were struggling with technology.
Now I am not blaming technology for that because as a part of the tech generation, I was fortunate enough to use a good and steady internet connection like Optimum Internet that included unlimited data, allowing me to have an immersive experience. However, most people were even struggling with an internet connection, tech apps, and setting devices.
How Online Learning Affected My Career
Just a heads up, I have not graduated yet but I am already seeing all the consequences. When I completed high school and stepped into college, I realized that just to cover up the academic year's loss; the government announced a new system of examination.
As much as other people were excited about the change, it was a dreadful experience for me. The government was getting lenient with the students who were lazy as a result fortifying their trust in inequality.
By the end of the year, half of my class scored the same because of the lenient exam system. This stripped away the edge from students who worked hard.
For instance, students who were working tirelessly on building solid GPAs with extracurricular activities, AP classes, and hands-on research experience were suddenly pulled down to the same level as struggling students. As a result, competition in IV league universities became unpredictable. Most of the deserving students who worked hard throughout their academic careers were suddenly pushed into uncertainty.
How I Navigated Through the Pandemic as a Student?
You might feel like I am bargaining but I was a good student. I added 5 AP classes with a solid extracurricular repute. I was head of three clubs and I could play two instruments.
Since this looks good on paper, I felt like my seat in the IV league was confirmed. However, post 2020 when the examination system and classes shifted online, everything changed.
Students challenged the traditional examination system, my teachers were struggling with the technology and we were missing two to three classes weekly. To make matters worse there was no involvement of one on one education help or tuition. For the first three months while I was settling and getting familiar with the subjects I realized that compared to last year's high school students we had a huge education gap.
From math to science subjects that required attention to detail and a lot of practical work, I was struggling with almost every subject. This is where I switched on recorded lessons on learning platforms.
From YouTube to online learning subscriptions, I tried almost everything only to realize that traditional classes were designed to ensure the participation of everyone. On the contrary, the online world was based on flexibility and personal pace. However, one thing is for sure, for the first time I had enough time on my hands to explore different career options, I learned new skills and was able to implement these skills in real life as well.
Online Learning or Traditional Learning: What’s Better?
If I have to choose between online learning and traditional learning, I will choose traditional learning because even with online learning we are still trying to replicate the traditional learning experience.
For most people learning comes naturally, they do not have to struggle with concepts they like studying and they are motivated to pursue a skill. However, others struggle with motivation, fundamental concept grabbing, and more.
To put it simply, if you are thinking of pursuing education and a career simultaneously online learning is the only way to go. However, if you struggle with multiple tasks, it’s better not to experiment with multiple things but rather switch to something solid and stay with the traditional style of studying only.
To sum it all up, virtual classrooms and easy learning methods are all helping people and students living in remote areas who have limited learning resources but people who already have access to a good education system are seeing an unfavorable effect.
From wasting time in building foundation concepts to struggling with the education gap, these years have affected the growth of students. However, this experimentation has led the education industry to establish a solid online education system.