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Being a student is probably one of the most stressful things one can be. The amount of school work that needs to be done is never ending, and on top of that there is extra curriculars, jobs, a social life, groceries, chores and figuring out who you even are as a person. Students this year got an extra sprinkle of stress by having to complete all this during a global pandemic. Online school has always been an option, with universities being fully online or online classes being offered, it wasn’t a foreign idea. However, a lot of students are struggling with online school.
Did professors forget how stressful university can be and decide to assign extra work? Are they trying to make sure that students obtain an adequate amount of information and it’s in a new format that students aren’t used to? Are in-person classes easier? Does some course content not transfer to an online platform? These are questions I asked myself when I saw this petition circulating some Trent students’ social media pages.
The narrative is similar amongst students when you ask how they’re enjoying online school, and it’s that they’re not. Many students are feeling overwhelmed and underachieved. A student, who is a friend of mine and wishes to remain anonymous, even went as far to say they feel as though they are paying the same amount of money to teach themselves more than half the content. Additionally, students do not have the same outlets they used to. Going to school in a classroom, then coming home to roommates, extracurriculars, jobs or whatever it may be, is no longer a thing students can do. With school being online, it seems as though everyone is working on assignments and notes 24/7, with little to no relaxation time. The work is demanding and COVID made most extracurriculars and jobs non-existent.
The petition goes on to describe how the physical and mental health of the students is declining due to stress and the university’s “lack of planning of the school curriculum this year.” Staring at a computer all day and not getting the appropriate amount of time outside or exercise can be detrimental to both physical and mental health. There should be extra supports that are more accessible to aid in the transition to online school. Mental health advocacy groups, such as Peer Support, Trent Active Minds and Student Health Promoters, on campus are trying to organize de-stress events for students. Many community supports such as Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre are also offering free services to Trent students.
The creator of the petition, Ayesha Bali, raises many points as to why online school might be too much for students to handle right now. But is there an alternative? Is Trent doing all they can? Who’s really to blame for the students struggling? This now leaves the readers with a decision, will you sign?