How Oakton Students are Grappling with More Time than Ever Before


Haley Longfellow, Editorial Board

The student body at Oakton can be described as busy, sometimes to an overwhelming extent. On a regular basis, we rush from class to class with a heavy load of preparatory materials upon our shoulders, a reminder of the day’s demands which must each be met with the utmost attention. We rise early to commute to school, go to our classes, attend practices and club meetings, work jobs, hold leadership positions, hang out with friends, attend events and competitions, and devote ourselves to our studies in the moments in between. 

It’s not as though all of this bustling activity has come to a screeching halt due to the devastating coronavirus pandemic. It just manifests in a different form. Virtually, class curriculum continues to build on itself, assignments are given out, athletic and extracurricular challenges are imposed, and our inboxes overflow while our devices ping with notifications. As it seems, most emails, texts, and announcements convey the same message: that we can continue with normal activity to some extent during this unsettling time, just in a different way. 

Our freedom is limited since we are largely bound to our homes. But, in a way, we have more than ever before. It is up to each of us to choose how to spend and structure the twenty four hours each day. Compared to life a few months ago, there are barely any periods of time blocked off in which we must focus on one specific task. We control not only how we fill each moment, which is a difficult thing, but also how we handle various virtual opportunities. Notably, both presenters and reciprocators can take opportunities with a distracted mind, or they can aim for unwavering attentiveness. Behind a screen, it is easy to be physically present but not mentally present; in this regard, we control the quality of our interactions with others more than ever before.

Many Oakton students feel quite thrown off; the global situation is scary, and we have hours and hours on end to ponder if we choose to. There is a lot of uncertainty. Importantly, we are all making constant adjustments as we try to navigate things, but here’s what a few Oakton students have to say about navigating their time and studies right now.

“My study habits are really good on some days and really horrible on others. I have to wake up in the right mood to do stuff because it’s so easy to get distracted… for classes like AP Biology and Photography, it’s hard because you’re limited to what you have at home and you don’t get to learn through doing.” -Lindsey Kotarski, junior

“Mostly I’ve been doing things I enjoy at home and only doing school during the times we have class. All the virtual learning feels kind of confusing, and most of the teachers don’t seem engaged either.” -Teresa Ribeiro, junior

“If I wake up after a good sleep and immediately dive into school work and studying, then I can get into the right mindset and maintain focus for a while. However, on days where I may feel tired or unproductive, I usually don’t get anything done. Virtually, the whole experience has been really confusing. Virtual learning means that there’s now a chance for human and computer error, which has just been making it more difficult to learn.” -Katelyn Marshall, junior

Image Courtesy of Samantha Gades