A reflection on the hybrid year
C/O Mohammad Shahhosseini (Unsplash)
When looking to the future, it’s crucial to reflect on what we’ve overcome thus far
By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor
This past school year brought a lot of hope for many. With mandates and restrictions to keep us safe, we could finally return to in-person learning.
Of course, this did not go as smoothly as expected. An increasing amount of rules and an abrupt switch back to online learning was a bit of a shock — especially as we were finally beginning to adjust to our “new normal.”
Yet, with that in the past, we can now enjoy the most freedom we have had in a while and use the skills we have fostered for these past two years to our advantage.
Students are used a lot of volatility as we learn and grow through different experiences. Yet, it can certainly be argued that COVID-19 was the most potent influencing factor that most of us have ever experienced.
The things we could look to as our "rocks” in times of uncertainty — such as playing team sports or spending time with friends — were no longer available to us. Of course, the virtual world of Zoom gave us somewhere to pivot, but the novelty of our surroundings and new behaviors were a constant reminder of the state of the world.
Our education, normally one of the most routine things in our young lives, also changed dramatically. Looking back at the 2020-2021 school year, we were still hopeful to return to in-person. However, the disappointment in hearing announcements about both the fall and winter terms was yet another unexpected announcement for all of us.
Now that we have returned to at least a semblance of normality in this regard, with most educational institutions now offering fully in-person learning, we can begin to more deeply reflect on what all this volatility has taught us.
For one, we often talk about resiliency after working harder due to getting a bad grade or returning to a sport after an injury or loss. Yet, this is a skill that can be developed through major life events as well.
Despite our classrooms turning into our bedrooms or living rooms at home, we still stayed engaged with our education, albeit to varying degrees due to a myriad of psychological and socioeconomical factors.
Although most of our hobbies and other pastimes had to change as well, we still found ways to stay in tune with our passions. Consider the unique home workouts, new pastimes in art or make-shift home renovations. Even while the world was in turmoil, we still found ways to exercise our uniquely human traits of wonder and imagination.
The other major thing to consider is the overall adaptability of human beings. Of course, we all have preferences regarding our surroundings.
Some of us prefer crowds and people, whereas others enjoy the quiet and a more tranquil way of life. Regardless, we all found a way to stay true to ourselves. Ideas such as online coffee chats or endless books to go through allowed us to stay true to ourselves, even though our favourite things were not necessarily available to us.
When it comes to school, this is a bit more controversial. The majority of individuals would say that they do thrive much better in an in-person learning setting. Though, again, we found ways to adapt.
Study sessions over FaceTime, turning on our cameras to make our virtual classrooms seem slightly more humane and understanding that this is a time to build our technical skills allowed us to progress through these difficult times. With schools pondering on maintaining both online and in-person options, we will be able to continually foster both our interpersonal and technological abilities.
However, it is understandable that not everyone was able to find some solace in the chaos of what the world has been during the pandemic.
The most important thing to remember here is our imperfection as human beings. There are going to be obstacles that we cannot face on our own and those that intertwine with the foundation of our lives without ever leaving.
Yet, just as our body can adapt to exercise or learning, we can adapt into our surroundings as well. Every single event or process we encounter is meant to teach us our change us. Although it may not seem as though it is immediately for the better, our mindset is what can remind us to stay positive on any road ahead.
Overall, this may not be the last time we find ourselves in a completely novel situation with nary an idea of how to progress. Yet, looking at how the world has changed, we can see that we are capable of so much — no matter our environment or the barriers we face.
Looking ahead to the future, we should always keep in mind the mountains that we have climbed when looking to the ones that we will be able to conquer again.