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How did the coronavirus outbreak change students' academic patterns?

Written by: Pedro Dutra

From: Brasília, Brazil

Edited by: Luana Mayer

There is no doubt that Covid-19 has completely changed the way we live. You might think that you weren’t contaminated by the virus but in reality, we all were. Our daily is, until this day, scarred by this unfathomably despicable disease. A little while ago, we were afraid of leaving our houses, going to the supermarket, going to school, and meeting our friends and family. These examples are all part of our routines that we used to follow before Covid existed. Especially with school, children used to go and feel safe there. Now, they go to school with a constant concern that they might be around people who were in contact with the virus, threatening their homes. All of this, severely affected students’ academic performance, mental health, and their entire lives. 

In March of 2020, schools closed. At that time, students were celebrating that they would stay home for two weeks, not do the finals, go out with friends, and do whatever they felt like doing. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Every single person was forced to stay home to minimize the spread of the virus, which in the beginning was excellent, no work, no stress, quality time with family, facetime with friends, creating your own sleep schedule without the concern of waking up too late, watching series all day — whatsoever. It really didn’t matter because, after all, you were at home just chilling while abiding by the rules. It was all fun and games until two weeks became our forever. Our room became our study place, our sleeping place — our everything. It was our safe zone and our “stay out zone”; Parents stopped screaming “go to your room!” because we were already in there for 23 hours, so it lost meaning; games weren’t so fun to play all of a sudden; watching Netflix all day was getting boring; new series and movies turned to “Oh, I’ve seen that a billion times now”. 

All of this turned out to be a tremendous problem for schools. Students were barely learning. They were struggling to focus and were completely drained by the monotony brought upon them. The pandemic created a large disruption of education systems, 1.3 billion learners were affected since the outbreak of the virus (Unesco). Depression rates spiked to 20% of adolescents having symptoms of depression and 25% of adolescents having severe anxiety symptoms (JAMA network). By then, schools started asking, “Is education more important than well-being?” Students were completely deprived of any social interaction for nearly two years which impacted them in countless ways. 

Take me as an example: I am a sixteen-year-old man who was 13 when quarantine started. As soon as it began, I was focused — as nothing changed. In the beginning, I still did my homework, straight A’s, club activities, fresh mind, still an ideal student. However, as time went by, being in my room all day was getting tiring, exhausting even, my daily was getting too monotonous and repetitive. I started to lose myself, went to sleep at 6 am and woke up at 5 pm, didn’t all of my homework, became a worse student, and everything I did was just boring. The same thing happened to all of my friends, to some even worse — severe mental health issues and anxiety. 

Although self-isolation is the “cure” for the virus, it may lead to illnesses too. As humans, we are always in need of being around others because, since our ancestors, we have continuously progressed, not alone, but in groups. Complete lockdown opened doors to a tremendous increase in depression, suicides, limited experiences, etc. According to Abraham Maslow's Theory of Human Motivation, the five pillars that humans strive to satisfy are: physiological needs, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. As the self-isolation act has become more prominent in our society, some of the said needs suffered a dramatic decline. Being isolated ultimately deprives humans of those needs, which impedes us from reaching ‘self-actualization’ since it limits our creativity and full potential. It brings down our esteem, the feeling of prestige from accomplishing something. It strips intimate relationships, the feeling of love and belonging being taken away from us. It takes out the secureness people were supposed to have in their homes. Finally, it only leaves us with basic, physiological, and primary to our survival: food, water, warmth, and rest. 

Overall, it is clear that the coronavirus outbreak heavily affected students’ academic patterns and growth by diminishing their social needs, limiting their life experiences, lack of care for students’ mental health, and others. Ultimately, now you see how we were contaminated by the virus and how our life just turned upside down. We started not living, yet existing by the parameters set by the world. The famous quote, “Think out of the box,” had to turn into “Think inside of the box, that’s the law.”


How did the coronavirus outbreak change students' academic patterns?: News Articles
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