Parents have no clue how difficult online school really is

Illustration by Monique Rojas | The Signal

Before COVID-19, the average student’s life consisted of school, work, extracurricular activities and social media. Growing up isn’t just hard; it’s stressful. Our parents have a hard time understanding that. They expected us to be the best students possible, and we don’t want to disappoint them.

We learned to live with the expectation that our parents could not understand the amount of stress we face. So with the pandemic, why did their expectations get higher?

Our parents didn’t grow up in the digital age. They characterize the youth as always being glued to their devices, so according to them, online school should be a breeze. Little do they know the amount of pressure we encounter. 

Georgia State did not adequately prepare students to take most of their classes online. Professors are giving more work than they would if classes were face to face. Online school is more than just a huge change; it’s an emotional burden in many students’ lives.

But, of course, when our parents ask, “How’s school going?” we will say, “It’s going great, a little stressful, but I’m making it through.” They’ll respond with a casual reminder that these stressors are normal and that our grades better be good.

Some students don’t dare to admit to their parents that they just don’t have the motivation for school anymore. After all, C’s get degrees, too.

A lot of our parents have forgotten what it’s like to be a student. Some parents live for their college days, still tearing up when they think about their experiences, all the fun they had. We would, too — that is, if we were having fun. Due to COVID-19, we are stuck with nearly empty football stadiums and Zoom sleepover calls with our friends. 

It is not the same as it was when our parents were in school; we understand that. Why don’t they?

When the semester first started, many parents were (and still are) against students being on campus during the pandemic. With midterms and registration within arms reach, many students struggle to decide whether it’s time to go back home or stick it out for one more semester. 

In a survey I conducted with 62 Georgia State Dining students, I asked, “Do you plan on taking face to face classes, if available, in the spring?” 56 out of the 62 said they would consider.

After reviewing the course schedule for the spring semester, many classes are online or blended. But with the ongoing pandemic and new COVID-19 cases every day, who’s to tell what will happen in the coming months?

Parents need to understand that online school is hard. It has made it so that we are simultaneously always in class, but also never in class. They need to cut us some slack. It’s not easy to teach yourself three to five courses, maintain a 4.0 GPA, keep a healthy mental state, make new friends and adapt to this new normal, which is COVID-19.

I am a freshman, and I’ve been avoiding my family when talking about my grades. Whenever they ask, I would always hit them with the classic, “I’m passing, so don’t worry about it,” because, in high school, they just knew that I was making good grades and balancing every club, class and social event that I had.

My family’s expectations for me when it comes to my school work have always been high. Not to put my business out there, but between me and a couple of my friends who are also freshmen, we were failing at least one class, and our attitude toward that is, “It is what it is, at least I’m trying.”

As college students, we have lowered our expectations regarding what to expect from online learning; it’s time our parents do the same.