Column: My experience as a high school freshman distance learning

As a freshman, starting high school by distance learning is not exactly what I expected.

Dragging myself out of bed each day, I start my day of running in my neighborhood and preparing for the upcoming school day. As I am on the Cross Country Team at El Camino Real Charter High School, I run six days a week, ranging from two to three miles a day.

Surprisingly, developing this new morning routine and a new way of life has made me much more productive, rather than sleeping past my alarm on a regular school day.

Coming back from running, I take a shower and log onto Zoom to start tutoring. Tutoring kids a variety of topics from public speaking to basic addition, I enjoy seeing their smiles and hearing their adorable questions.

I thought to myself over the course of time while tutoring, “If these little children can get through distance learning, why can’t I?”

With that same thought in mind, I start school at 8 a.m. and log onto Microsoft Teams to start my zero period class.

As a freshman, this was definitely not the lifestyle that I imagined. Entering high school, I thought I would be surrounded by a bunch of students running down the hallways, classmates and I miss the tingling sensation in the air.

It is extremely hard to make friends over a distance learning platform, even if the teacher tries to incorporate some type of “group work” in the syllabus. In addition, I hate the fact that I have to sit on my chair six hours a day without having to interact face-to-face in our classroom.

It is hard to adapt to this new lifestyle, however, if it means saving a number of lives, I am in for a challenge.

As hard as it sounds, managing time is a great challenge during these unprecedented times. I try not to stress myself out but do try to surround myself with activities, clubs and tutoring to keep me occupied.

Thinking of my mental health and supporting my classmates, I have started an Active Minds chapter at my high school, where we discuss and talk about raising mental awareness, especially during these times. Interacting with other peers and classmates is difficult, but through clubs and activities, I have made new friends.

Teachers, administration and students are working together to make distance learning the easiest for us students, and even though it is not the easiest transition, we can get through these unprecedented times together.

2 thoughts on “Column: My experience as a high school freshman distance learning

  1. Grace Lee – Grace Lee is the Editor-in-Chief of her high school paper and a Student Advisory Board member at High School Insider. As a journalist, she loves to uplift youth voices through feature articles. Her latest column, Teens Now, tells the stories of teens who have created change in their communities through various approaches. Through this column, she hopes to uplift the voices of teens and encourage more teen changemakers to make a difference in their community. Reach out at gracelee1502@gmail.com!
    Grace Lee says:

    Thanks for writing this Sriya! It was really interesting to hear about your experiences entering high school during these unprecedented times. I love how you started an Active Minds chapter at your school! Because we’re all social distancing, it’s so important to focus on our mental and social health.

    1. Sriya Sai Pushpa Datla – Sriya Datla is a Los Angeles Times High School Insider Student Advisory Board Member and a sophomore at El Camino Real Charter High School in Los Angeles, California. She is a 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo and a member of her high school’s Science Bowl, Speech & Debate, Model United Nations, and Cross Country teams. As the President and Founder of her high school's Active Minds and STEM Without Boundaries chapters, she raises awareness towards mental health and is extremely passionate about empowering women in the STEM field. Being a part of her high school's UNICEF Cabinet, Sriya supports their initiative of helping children from impoverished countries to gain access to their basic medical needs. She feels passionate to raise awareness through her content, which varies from medicine to current issues. In the future, Sriya aspires to become a pediatrician.
      Sriya Sai Pushpa Datla says:

      Thank you so much, Grace! Yes, I encouraged my friends and other students to focus on their mental and social health and found that Active Minds would be a great supplement to our school! :)

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