My daughter’s college chose to go virtual this semester.

I am still irrationally mad about this.

For fun, I’m going to list all the things that my daughter has done virtually this year:

  1. Training for becoming an orientation counselor
  2. Training to be a peer advisor
  3. Actual orientation counselor
  4. Actual peer advisor
  5. Train to be a mentor
  6. Actual mentor
  7. Ran meetings to be parts of the organizations she’s involved in
  8. Leading students on the moot court team to prep for a virtual tournement
  9. Pledged a sorority (I don’t know if it’s still called pledging)
  10. Attends live classes every week
  11. Applied for multiple virtual internships
  12. Works at a virtual internship
  13. Attends sorority meetings
  14. Attends a billion other meetings
  15. Attends office hours
  16. Has held office hours
  17. Tutors kids

I’m sure if I asked her there would be more things. She spends a lot of time in front of her computer…

Isn’t it funny that a year ago we would have called a kid spending that much time in front of a computer a psychopath or anti social and was in line to be/do something nefarious?

Now we call them resilient.

Whenever I tell people that this virtual learning stuff is BS, I’m hit with the positivity police:

“You know- it’s not that bad. They’ll do fine>’

Well, let’s start with that “fine” is not really the outcome anyone wants of their child. They want them to thrive.

But let’s look at this another angle:

Would kids have been fine if we didn’t give them participation trophies all those years? See, to me, that was how we taught kids resilience. We let them lose and tell them it’s OK and that the sun still will shine tomorrow…

My daughter has entered and lost far more things than she has won. She still has a pretty impressive collection of trophies, plaques and certificates. (she’s gotten ridden of anything that reeked of participation alone)

She has been resilient her entire life.

She was the first grader who walked in the door and did her homework before anything else. (though she spent the first hour or two after school either on the playground, at a playdate or at a lesson)

She was the kind of kid that when given a project with a future due date, she would figure out how many hours she needed to work on it each night so she wasn’t rushed and finishing it at the last minute.

She laid out her books the night before to make sure everything she needed was in her backpack.

She was always prepared for class.

If she signed up for an activity she showed up when she was supposed to. She listened to whatever coach or teacher or parent was in charge. ‘

She was respectful of everyone.

So yes, even in these challenging times my daughter is resilient.

She is making the best of a bad situation.

That still doesn’t mean she’s good…or the situation is good…

Last semester she finished with first honors which means she had a GPA of greater than 3.9. Now, before you’re all like, well, I’m sure the school was lenient... because people don’t necessarily want to see someone thrive…I’ll give you another little factoid. 50% of the kids at her school chose to take the pass/fail option, so things weren’t quite so easy. (to add- my kid goes to a competitive school with a very low acceptance rate)

Or 50% of the kids were not so resilient.

Because here’s the thing:

We can scream till we are blue in the face about how the kids are fine…

Yet, how many kids out there went home and did homework without prodding?

Took their time doing a project?

Showed up for practices?

Actually practiced something?

Accepted a loss with grace and dignity and still got up to try again?

And then tell me how you think those kids are doing?

As my daughter enters the third hour of her sociology class, even she’s starting to wither…

How do you think other kids are doing?

Here’s what I think we are doing to the youth of today:

Dumb

Depressed

Drugged

Drunk

Demoralized

In the name of keeping them safe, we are ruining them.

Let me make this clear. This is my opinion. There are no “facts” or “statistics”. But right now, this will be a lost generation.

If you have someone under 25 in your life, make sure they are Ok mentally. Be their support system. Make sure they’ve even reached fine on a scale of bad to good… Make sure they are resilient as you think they are.

on a slightly different note: My daughter needs to find someone to interview for her history class. They must be American and old enough to have been at least a teenager during the 1960’s. They also need to have done something noteworthy such as been in Vietnam, or attended protests against the war, or were at Woodstock, or saw the Beatles live, marched for civil rights or gay rights or women’s rights, or something that was out of the ordinary, and was clearly part of what we now know as 60’s history. email me at wakinguponthewrongsideof50@gmail.com

Thanks!

67 thoughts on “Let’s Take a Semester In

  1. I feel your words so deep in my bones.
    Resilience is great, but when is ‘enough’ too much?
    None of our kids are ‘fine’, regardless of age. They’re doing what they must to survive. And it’s not at all fine. From my 17 month old granddaughter to your college age daughter. I worry about the lasting impact on these young people. Resilience is only good if they’re thriving under duress.
    Sending love to your girl! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t agree more. I’m seeing so many elementary age kids struggle with the stress. This literally impedes brain development.
        I know there really isn’t a solution, but I hope upon hope that someone somewhere is paying attention.
        xoxo ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughters are 23 and 9, and neither one of them are “neurotypical”. Neither is their mother. My eldest has an auditory processing dyslexia which we didn’t catch onto until late into her education-maybe midway through. My youngest has ADHD like me, which comes with a mess of executive function issues as well as the more obvious attention span issues. Both my kids are so smart. Both of them learn differently. Online schooling is an utter nightmare. But what else can we do right now?

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Our 20-year-old grandson is on campus running a dorm. I’m so thankful he is actively engaged and not sitting in front of a computer all day. He has on-line classes and one in a classroom. Your daughter is making the best of her situation, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think of these kids spending more time with technology…it’s not good at all. I’m glad to hear that your grandson is engaged. It’s important

      Like

    1. Completely agree. I’m no expert. But life experience and logic, and watching the effects of a generation already raised on tech tells me that more isn’t curing anything.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My daughter is a second grade teacher’s assistant. The school just got approval to be able to go back into the classrooms to teach (private school, grades K – 8). She is not happy. She does not believe the parents will be responsible and follow the guidelines to limit exposure (this is in an affluent part of the area and she believes they will continue to travel, especially around the upcoming holidays). Her lead teacher has decided that she does not want to take the risk so she will be teaching from home. So here’s what her class will look like starting mid-October – They have to move to a different classroom to allow for the 6 feet apart and another grade will be using their classroom. The teacher will be at home teaching virtually and some of the kids will be at home learning virtually. My daughter will be in the classroom helping the in-classroom kids. Kids temperatures will be taken daily before they get out of the car. My daughter will get tested for covid every two weeks. She is not allowed to travel out of the area. The kids have only 20 minutes to “play” outside each day and they cannot mingle with the other classes, even though some have siblings in the other grades. We’ll see how this experiment works. She believes that the school got pressure from the parents because they did not want to have to deal with the kids at home all day. That and the fact that there was some mention that “kids don’t get it because they are short.” It is very difficult for everyone. I agree with you, though, that there has to be some other way.

    Like

  5. This whole pandemic will leave scars, no doubt about it. It’s one thing to study online courses as a choice and quite another to have that choice taken from you. There are other aspects about school that is so important, socializing and developing social skills chief among them. It was bad enough when children were glued to computers or cell phones before this pandemic hit. I shudder to think what ill effects this pandemic will usher in, and I mean mentally as well as physically. Your daughter sounds like a very mature and well-balanced young woman, many were already struggling with mental health issues long before covid made an appearance and do not possess the traits and qualities your daughter has. And that’s not to make little of what your child is experiencing, but my God, what will happen to this generation and the one just starting out in school? It’s heartbreaking.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I e-mailed you a response to your request for 60’s events, but got this immediately:

    A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
    recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:

    wakinguponthewrongwideof50@gmail.com
    host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com [172.217.212.27]
    SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO::
    550-5.1.1 The email account that you tried to reach does not exist. Please try
    550-5.1.1 double-checking the recipient’s email address for typos or
    550-5.1.1 unnecessary spaces. Learn more at
    550 5.1.1 https://support.google.com/mail/?p=NoSuchUser o1si171195ilc.17 – gsmtp

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Just like our standard level of educating in a “one size fits all” kind of way does not work well for everyone, neither does the situation for virtual learning work in a “one size fits all” kind of way. Both of my kids do exceptionally well in a virtual environment. They actually seem to thrive better with that style of education because it has allowed them to get what they need from a class, get the work done, and move on to the next task instead of being forced to sit for a predetermined time in a room listening to a teacher continue to explain something they understood the first time. That said, I know that there are students that really struggle with that kind of set up. They need the external structures like those set class times to help keep them on task. Another problem comes in with how the virtual is presented. I’ve also seen some teachers do an amazing job of teaching in a virtual medium and others, I have no idea if they even attempted to work out a virtual plan even though they knew for some time this was how it was going to go. The classes my daughter struggles the most in are those second ones because it is not ever made clear what exactly needs to be done. So, yes, parts of it are a mess for different reasons. But this is also in a system that is actually willing to try and make it work and I know not all schools have pulled it off nearly as well. I’m more than grateful that my kids are (mostly) virtual, even my son in college. Both because it works so well for them, but because I know they are staying as safe as possible while still getting the education they need.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It is true that the schooling is not optimal for anyone during this time, your daughter sounds as if she will succeed in spite of the restrictions and maybe even do better, but not all are like her. It is a lose/lose proposition for all and I for one am glad I do not have to make the rules. I know there are students at some schools doing some in person classes and with restrictions are ok, but then college kids do what college kids do and then all hell breaks loose. My husband works at a college and as a coach he is allowed to have 2 practices a week very restricted and I can tell you that some of his players have already been in contact with someone with covid, so he has told them they are not allowed at practice. We are being careful but he works with an age group that generally is not that careful. The education process will take some resetting after this is over, but those that push themselves to see how best to work through the challenges will come out ahead.
    Sorry I can’t help your daughter with her interview as I was born in 1959.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. True, but if you think about having to adapt to these circumstances, the ones that are able to do so are ahead of the game. They have learned a valuable skill, that being said it is not optimal for anyone. I believe you learn something from every experience even if it is that next time you will do it differently, you learned. My kids were allowed to fail, to not win or not get an A because they needed to know that they needed to put more effort into a project for instance or that someone just out did them in some way. These were not pleasant experiences but they learned from them just the same.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. To some extent those in school, college etc are all operating at less than optimal circumstances. There are a great number of the population that are affected in numerous ways, but I believe that we all figure we have to give allowances.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Now that’s a challenge, trying to drum up people to interview when confined to your apartment. My daughter is at school and it’s the best place for her despite a mild Covid-19 outbreak on campus. Neither of my kids are self-starters. If you have one, consider yourself blessed.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Paying high tuition for College kids to be at home is maddening too. Some Colleges are allowing kids on campus and some aren’t. Some students are taking 1/2 a Gap year. Sorry you have to go through this.

    My daughter is trying to find a job, good jobs for college graduated students is hard to find right now too. She’s had some good interviews, so we will see what happens. Most companies have hiring freezes.

    They say, “In every cloud there is a silver lining.” Of course, it takes us a while to “look back” and understand WHY we had to go through something and what was the “benefit” in the end.

    Maybe you were meant to have a little more time with your daughter. Bright side!

    Hang in there.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. ABSOLUTELY — I would recommend my daughter do the same. It’s insane to pay HIGH TUITION, do online courses and not get the entire College experience. This is difficult for everyone, Colleges too, but maybe they can re-think their tuitions too, which have gotten out of hand.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. There is much to be gained from scraped knees. Losing and accountability were earned when I was younger. I’m sure I would have had a different opinion back then if someone had told me I would learn much from losing, but it turned out to be the case.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No, you’re right. I was talking to a kid I work with about accountability recently, and how it used to look, for me.

        If I got in trouble when I was in school, I earned it. Because there were layers of accountability I had to deal with. Firstly, the teacher. Sometimes, the principal. And then mom and finally dad. Goodness!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m glad you said this. I find it very sad to see my 5-year-old granddaughter spending her kindergarten year (one of the most formative) in front of a computer. The other day she started complaining because the teacher couldn’t see her raise her hand and I just thought, “This is ridiculous.” Regardless of the facts about COVID, I do believe our kids are missing out on vital skills. They are being trained, now as early as 5, to depend on technology. Jumping jacks in front of the screen for gym??? I just shake my head (of course, not in front of her). No opportunities for real connection, learning how to forge your way through the playground battles that happen, what it means to make a friend or lose a friend. It’s absolutely heartbreaking for me to see this. This isn’t life.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Yes, these restrictions are almost as bad as the virus itself. It is so hard on students, and also on the elderly…another group we don’t hear much about, but who are simply devastated by not only the virus, but by the restrictions we’ve put in place from the virus. “Keeping people safe” has become the slogan for dictating how people live their lives, and not in a good way.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Where is the LOVE button? Preach is, sister…..I’m in total agreement. Every time I hear the word ‘Fine’ I think of this acronym: Fearful. Insecure. Neurotic. Emotional. Yes, they are all “fine.” Resilient and Tenacious…..I like it! xoxoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  15. My son is in his first semester of college, living in the dorms. He is much more social than his mom and has really enjoyed meeting new people. I’m sure there are people who think I shouldn’t have “let” him live on campus, but there are risks/benefits to everything.
    I really feel for k-12 kids who come from disadvantaged backgrounds and don’t have consistent internet access—I feel many of them will really be missing out this year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think we falsely think we can “protect” our kids or keep them “safe”. This is pretty arrogant because we’re not omnipotent, we’re just human. I agree with your decision to “allow” your son to live on campus. As you said, there are risks to everything. We can’t keep them in bubble wrap

      Like

  16. People’s attitudes about all of this depends on their experiences–have they had Covid? has someone they know died of Covid? Maybe they don’t know anyone who has had Covid–I don’t. I do know it makes me smile to go to the park and see unmasked families and friends having actual fun. I do know I am glad to be a RETIRED teacher because I can not imagine teaching K or 1st graders at a distance. You can’t see their faces to see if they are understanding. You can’t hug them and tell them things will get better. I have a Zoom meeting on Mondays that lasts for three hours and it is at least an hour longer than works for me. It exhausts me. We need to open our society up and let herd immunity do its thing. This is not about a virus anymore; it is about power and control.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s