Side Effect of Online School:Procrastination

By Anna Lopez, Staff Artist

In an effort to keep students and faculty safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida schools have been conducted virtually since mid-March.  A concern among educators and parents alike is that with this digital method of learning, students will lose motivation for school. In short, that students will procrastinate more.

In an April poll on The Artisan’s Instagram story, 77 percent of 32 student respondents said they are procrastinating more. Seven students said they procrastinated less, and two answered they were sometimes procrastinating more and other times less, or that the situation is complicated.

These mixed feelings appear to be consistent among many students currently in online school according to news reports, including a recent New York Times article which shared students’ online learning experiences. 

While some students in the Times article reported positive experiences including getting more sleep and working at their own pace, others shared frustrations that included issues with time management, anxiety about keeping up with the workload and lack of motivation. Douglas Anderson students interviewed for this piece echoed those challenges.

“Online school has caused me to procrastinate a lot more, since I have no schedule, I have no sense of time,” said Kaitlyn Skau, a junior Band major.

In addition to a less structured learning environment, students are also at home where distractions such as responsibilities for siblings, shared work space and computers, the call of social media and other deterrents to focusing are harder to resist.

“Being at home and surrounded by distractions creates a more difficult work environment for me,” said Mackenzie Jarrel, a sophomore at Sandalwood High School. “It just makes school feel like an option.”

                Some students are also feeling the pressure of keeping up with activity feeds, lessons and assignments, which can affect their mental states and daily outlooks.

 “Online school makes me procrastinate a lot more, because things like the assignments and activity pages make it seem more like assignments are piling up,” said Gilly Barber, a Visual Arts junior, “It’s sort of a self-fulfilling prophecy, in that worrying about classwork makes me too anxious to do anything, which makes everything pile up which makes me more anxious.”

From what Douglas Anderson students have described, many factors that come along with online school have increased the amount of procrastination.  The main problems they expressed were lack of time awareness, a distracting home environment and an altogether different system of learning. All these problems weren’t as present, if present at all, in our typical school setting.

Denise Harbin, an English teacher at DA, had ideas on how students can remain productive even in this environment.

“It’s not about doing work … It’s a chance to read a good book or learn a new skill or just investigate something they are curious about,” said Harbin. “School is a chance to think about something besides this pandemic.”

And since the state recently announced online learning will run through the end of this school year, students know they will have to continue adapting to these unique circumstances.

 “It’s been tough, but we only have one quarter left, so I think we can manage,” said Jarrel.

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