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Burned Out: An Overview of The Consequences of Distance Learning

It’s been a long time, spending at home in the pandemic, with little contact from the outside world. We’ve been managing online classes, and our anxieties of the incoming days, so it’s no wonder we would all have to carry the burden of the stress we’ve accumulated in the past months. The pandemic still has a long way to go before we can truly say it’s over, but we’re already seeing the side effects of being isolated at home in this pandemic. In addition, we have also compromised with distance learning in order to continue our education during this time. And frankly, after finishing half the school year, it feels like it’s been a very long ride.

Indeed we’ve compromised with distance learning to continue our education during the pandemic. Because of this situation, students and teachers alike are being placed in a position where they have to be online almost all day, from Zoom meetings to requirements that must be submitted online. Although modular learning is an option, some concepts and assignments need a source of internet connection. In other words, we’re always in front of a screen—this kind of setup causes ‘digital burnout,’ or what we’d see as the built-up fatigue, stress, anxiety, and the like, which is prompted by too much time spent on electronic devices.

This ‘digital burnout’ is accompanied by the term ‘Zoom fatigue,’ which as the name suggests, means gaining fatigue from online meetings or video calls, through popular applications like Zoom or Google Hangouts. Although technology has come a long way, this would never quite replace face-to-face communication. The lack of non-verbal cues (like the way our hands move, or what emotion shows in our face) makes it harder for us to process another person’s response. Our brain also gets more easily distracted, with the things around us, especially since classes tend to be continuous. Our attention is more easily divided, and sometimes, it feels like we weren’t really able to process everything we’ve learned that day.

Apart from this, students and teachers alike also struggle with this new mode of learning because not everyone is privileged enough to have a strong internet connection or a device that is solely for them to use. This pandemic has impacted our mental health a great deal—the loss of a parent’s job and the risk of getting Covid-19 can trigger anxiety or depression.

Despite all these factors, it is human nature to adapt and cope with the situations we are all currently in. An important thing that has been repeated over and over is the reminder that we never walk alone. It’s tiring to hear but during a time of ironic (but important!) isolation, as we are social beings—it’s important to reach out and talk about it, especially when dealing with the after effects of depression and anxiety. Apart from reaching out, we can also set up a schedule for ourselves in order to keep us anchored throughout the day—there should be a designated time for doing our tasks, and also a time for resting to avoid overworking and overstimulating ourselves.

This time spent during the pandemic has felt like a fever dream to some and a big, loud wake-up call for most. Although it’s still hard to see the end in sight, the end will always be there, one way or another. Our lives will never be the same. We’ve experienced things we can’t be too sure we can say others have experienced or will experience. It’s so easy to close ourselves off to the possibilities of rising back up because we only see what we truly want to see until the world has begun to change around us in ways we thought wouldn’t be possible anymore. But until then, we’ll just have to keep going, and to keep fighting, and to keep walking until the end of this dark and long tunnel.



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