By Nadia Syed

The Coronavirus pandemic hit America like a storm. During a time of confusion and rapid change, students who relied on school for not only education, but also social interaction are now trying to adjust to a new form of education: virtual learning. Many Cobb County students have shifted to an online format rather than in-classroom learning. EAST COBBER intern, Nadia Syed, interviewed a few high school students to get their perspective on virtual school.

HIGH SCHOOL INTERRUPTED 3Anoushka Gandotra, a junior at Walton high school, has been doing online school since March. While she does miss attending normal school with her friends, she says that virtual learning has allowed her to have a much more balanced schedule, especially since her school day now ends at 1:50 P.M. Anoushka agrees that online is a big change for a lot of people. “There’s a completely different ambiance,” she said, “I mean, you’re sitting at home for hours staring at a screen versus walking up three flights of stairs just to get to your next class.” When asked what part of in-person school she missed the most, Anoushka said it was the social interactions. “I miss walking from class to class catching up with friends. I specifically miss funny classroom moments when some incident would occur, and the whole class would laugh.” Cobb County students are now having to decide between continuing with virtual learning or going back to in-person. Anoushka explained that, for her, the choice definitely took some thinking… “I personally decided to stay virtual, along with about 40% of Walton students. Everyone’s situations are different, so I understand both choices.”

High school students have definitely expressed some frustration over the larger workload that came with online schooling. Zack Talkboys, a HIGH SCHOOL INTERRUPTED 2senior at Lassiter High School, agrees that the workload is more during virtual school, and he finds it stressful trying to complete all of his work along with college applications. Whether students are introverted or extroverted, it is a big adjustment to no longer be around groups of people everyday. Like many others, Zack also says the thing he misses the most is “being able to go out with friends.” Zack is not planning to return to school as his parents would prefer him to stay at home. “I personally don’t mind either way but it is probably safer to stay at home,” he says.

HIGH SCHOOL INTERRUPTED 1While online schooling has definitely come to grow on some students, others are finding it not so enjoyable. Social butterfly and multifaceted athlete Ariana Cradox, a senior at Pope High School, says that she absolutely hates online learning. She explains how it’s “a bit more challenging, since most teachers don’t really know how to work everything during virtual learning.” She also mentions that there is plenty more work during online school than in-person due to the shorter academic year. Students aren’t just missing their classmates who they use to see on a regular basis; they’re also missing teachers and staff. “What I miss the most is getting to visit my teachers whenever I want,” says Ariana. It is drastically different to speak to teachers over a call versus in person, and many students would rather be there with their teachers to ask questions.

HIGH SCHOOL INTERRUPTEDGracie Landelfeld, a senior, is not only a bright student at Wheeler High School, but also a dedicated athlete. She says that the main time she sees friends now is when she has practice for her club rowing team. Gracie agreed that the part of in-person school she missed most was interacting with people. “I miss just being able to leave the house everyday,” she says. “ All of our classes are on zoom, the schedule is vastly different, all assessments are open note, and you don’t see anyone from school in person, so this year is very different.” However, like many others, Gracie enjoys the increased flexibility of the schedule. She says that “having Wednesdays has been a great chance to catch up on school work.

This article originally appeared in the January/February issue. You can access that HERE.