Let’s reconsider that gap year
Online school is beneficial during a time of uncertainty
Graphic by Esra Rakab / Production Coordinator
By: Ardena Bašić, Contributor
With the COVID-19 crisis, most schools worldwide have had to revert to online learning for sustained periods of time. For postsecondary institutions specifically, this means lectures have been conducted via Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Webex. Proctoring software such as Respondus has been used for exams and there have been significant changes to how and what kind of content is delivered.
All things considered, many individuals have chosen to halt their education until things are back to normal. However, considering that the duration of this pandemic is still unknown, this is likely doing more harm than good.
When you take school out of your schedule, particularly given this situation where we’re in a pandemic, there are not many other activities to fill it. A lot of work is now done remotely and other jobs that are still in-person maintain some risk of catching the virus.
Otherwise, leisure activities like going to the gym, movie theatre or even restaurants with friends neither fill one’s day nor are constantly available in this turbulent environment. Keeping school in the mix can at least contribute to some form of routine, which can be invaluable in such arduous times.
Moreover, learning, in general, carries a multitude of benefits — COVID or not. At McMaster University specifically, professors are still managing to deliver their course content in engaging and clear ways. Yes, there can be some Zoom fatigue, but instructors are highly aware of that and do their best to accommodate for that during class time, such as providing breaks in class for students. Many instructors have also been more lenient with different forms of testing and applying content, meaning that there are more — albeit different — ways to prove that you are learning.
With online school specifically, no matter whether you like it or not, you will still obtain an abundance of new, useful skills. Organization, for one, can be more difficult for some when navigating through multiple different platforms for classes.
However, this forces you to challenge your previous systems and find new, potentially better ways to stay on track. Furthermore, tech is the future: getting better acquainted with spending a major part of your life on it is good preparation for whatever the future may hold.
Lastly, pandemic life is tough. There are rarely any constants that you can rely on and it seems like every day brings a new challenge to overcome. Yet, by committing to your education during such a difficult time, you are investing in your future self and showing you and those around you just how resilient and strong you can be. If anything, take pride in what you have been able to accomplish during these unprecedented times and look back when you need a reminder of your abilities.
With everything that’s been said, there are good reasons for gap years. If you are struggling and you know that your mental health would benefit from the time off, don’t be afraid to do so. Ultimately, as it is often said, filling our own cup is just as important as pouring from it. You know what is best for you.
However, if you are considering taking a year off solely because school is online, take some time to reconsider that idea. Overall, deeply considering your reasons for taking some time off your education can help you make the best decision for your future.