We asked our student bloggers to write about their distance learning experience. Today, Eric M. ’21 shares the impact distance learning has had on him.

Unless you live under a rock (in which case you’re probably in a really safe position), the recent COVID-19 outbreak has caused schools to close and move online. BASIS Independent McLean is no exception, and we are using Microsoft Teams as our virtual classroom. Although distance learning means that we no longer are required to change out of our pajamas, the changes to a student’s experiences stretch beyond just laziness (although I will concede that not wearing jeans is a huge plus).

On the topic of learning, I haven’t found distance learning to be too difficult to manage. The transition was difficult, as well as getting adjusted to Teams, but now that I’ve gotten my bearings, I’ve found distance learning to be pretty efficient. Without being at school eight hours a day, I am able to complete assignments at any time and finish early, which frees up time in my day. The trade-off is that without a classroom, our learning becomes harder as we don’t always have someone in front of us verbalizing the content based on our reaction.

The extra free time I now have is a luxury that I truly value. Without such a busy schedule, I have more time to pursue my hobbies. I occasionally spend this time playing guitar, catching up on TV shows, painting, and much more. A new hobby that I've developed is photography. Spring was going to happen regardless, and I've found myself enjoying taking pictures of all the flowers that have bloomed, and editing them on my own time (see the header photo for an example!). Normally, I reserve these activities for the weekends. But now, there isn’t much of a difference between a weekday and a weekend. Every day I spend time studying (especially before the AP exams!), and every day I spend some time doing what relaxes me.

Ultimately, the quarantine isn’t great from the perspective of a student, especially as a junior. But I also appreciate that this extended break is beneficial to our health (ironic) as we spend more time on ourselves. For better or for worse, the experiences I have while secluded (physically, of course) will be impactful and unforgettable.