Has Distance Learning Trapped Students In A State Of Arrested Development

Lukas Luna, Co-Copy Editor

In the early days of my junior year, I very distinctly remember spotting a group of freshmen. Nothing about this group seemed terribly different from other freshmen and that is what made them so notable. I felt as if in this particular group of students, I could see the quintessence of the freshmen class. And that is what served to make them more than a little off putting. 


That statement was not meant to convey any malice, merely my gut reaction at seeing such a perfect representation of our younger students. They were loud, self-assured, obnoxious, and above all else, naive. While those certainly are not positive traits, it did not perturb me in the slightest. Though they bore those unfortunate characteristics, I knew that time and the high school experience would help them grow out of it, help them mature. 


After all, what is perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from high school if not maturity. While academics are undoubtedly important, there is an unfortunate amount of students who forsake such pursuits. No matter which pursuits we do chase during this time, it is an undeniable fact that we will all learn and grow from them. It is just the way of those cosmically coincidental moments that define this time for us. 


As sacred as such a way of things seems, they were all brought to a halt back in March along with everything else that seemed unshakable. Now, class is online and affords very little social interaction. What happens to those freshmen now? 


It may seem bizarre to be so concerned with a group of typical freshmen I happened to see one day, but a part of me does genuinely worry for them. The high school experience, which fosters growth and change, has been snatched away from them for the foreseeable future. Rather than drifting apart onto separate paths of maturity, their juvenile tendencies will simply continue to be fostered by one another through Instagram and Snapchat. 


That is not the case for merely one group of friends; however. How many freshmen are having their emotional growth stunted, how many have already lost opportunities to meet people who would have had a profound impact on their lives, how many are suffering from a state of arrested development? 


It is an unsettling question, to be sure, but one that needs to be asked. For all the jokes made about “the class of Corona” (my most sincere condolences to those who were robbed of a proper senior year, by the way), it is a very apt way to describe the ever growing crop of students who have had their youth fundamentally changed by this pandemic. 

Damn, there I go self-aggrandizing and making lofty claims. A lot of what I just said can very reasonably be taken as exaggeration, just the product of an overactive mind that has had far too much time to itself since this whole thing started, but I do sincerely believe that my concerns are borne from a seed of legitimate worry. A generation is coming of age in unprecedented circumstances and what that leads to is anyone’s guess. 


While the thoughts presented here might seem to lean towards pessimism, I do believe that something good will come out of this. Sure, everything has been flipped on its head seemingly for the worse, but there is no trait that I believe is more common than perseverance. So let us all, from freshmen to seniors and everyone in between, persevere. It may seem rough now, but in the end, only we can decide whether we come out of this better or worse.