Those who started college or university classes during the height of COVID-19 restrictions likely did the majority of their learning remotely.
With most government-mandated pandemic rules now lifted, making the transition to in-person classes from online ones can be a jarring experience for some students.
Deeva Wazir, a political science student at Concordia University, says it’s unrealistic to assume students can make such a massive shift in their studies without affecting their mental health.
“I didn’t know what a ‘normal’ classroom setting is supposed to be like. How you are supposed to interact with people? It was all online on Zoom. And most of the time, people wouldn’t even turn on their cameras, so I literally just see a black screen with someone’s name on it and that’s someone I know from my class,” Wazir said. “My room, my table was the place I stayed at, my university, that was my world, my room. So it got really depressing.”
Wazir says students like herself may have missed “the golden university years” by studying online. However, this year, with in-person classes, she has reason to be optimistic.
“I am extremely excited to go back in-person fully,” Wazir said. “But I am also really upset, because I am going into my final year now and I feel like I didn’t even go through university. It’s bittersweet.”
Wazir is not alone in feeling this way. Several students have reported feeling stressed going to campus for classes for the first time this semester. They say physically attending university is a whole new experience compared to learning from home.
The stress of returning to in-person classes is not exclusive to post-secondary students either — several high schools and even some elementary and middle schools have implemented online learning as well. Dr. Rehman Abdulrehman, a clinical psychologist, says parents need to keep an eye on their children’s behavior during this period of change.
“We moved people very quickly out of a certain set of behaviors and now we are going to be moving them back. So this kind of transition after such a long period of time, takes a little bit of — for some people — some time to adjust,” Abdulrehman said. “What we should be watching at this point in the game is a general avoidance of social activity, watching for children who are pulling away from friends. You know, if everything is good, they are going to run towards that.”