In the dark: Students’ motivation plummets as 2020 charges ahead

BLUESCREEN+BLUES%3A+An+overworked+student+observes+the+amount+of+work+they%27ve+been+assigned.+Students+this+year+are+facing+a+motivation+crisis+unlike+ever+before.+%22I%27ve+never+had+this+much+work+before.%22+said+freshman+Jay+Barker.

Jay Barker

BLUESCREEN BLUES: An overworked student observes the amount of work they’ve been assigned. Students this year are facing a motivation crisis unlike ever before. “I’ve never had this much work before.” said freshman Jay Barker.

Motivation. A superhero in times of stressful deadlines and a looming monster when you need to get out of bed. Finding the motivation to do anything is difficult, but for students, it’s nearly impossible. Getting out of a warm bed and going to a place where you sit for eight hours a day memorizing information for tests that get you into harder levels of school does not sound ideal in any definition of the word.

Now do all of that while the world crumbles around you.

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Due to the coronavirus pandemic, students have been experiencing a dip in their motivation. Online learning has proven to be a difficult task for many and keeping focus in an environment that is completely yours to control is just the tip of the iceberg. Learning in masks and enforced social distancing hasn’t done anything but tank any inkling of hope they have for something close to a normal school year. 

“We’re not learning right now, we’re just submitting assignments,” said sophomore Annie Chovanes.  “I have absolutely no motivation to do anything at all because I am always exhausted.”  

Chovanes does have a point there. Teachers have been told by the administration that they need to be assigning a certain amount of work every week so students can be properly “enriched.” 

I’ve had less motivation…I can’t stop getting distracted and I am constantly overwhelmed with work.”

— Giana Renninger, CHS freshman

But that begs the question; are students really enriched if this work isn’t teaching them anything and is just being assigned to meet a quota that the administration expects from its staff? 

Giana Renninger, a freshman at CHS, also brings up this massive workload along with the distractions she faces while attempting to work from home. 

“I’ve had less motivation,” said Renninger.  “I can’t stop getting distracted and I am constantly overwhelmed with work.”

According to a 2020 study, “Child and adolescent mental illness during COVID-19: A rapid review” by the Elsevier Journal, shows that prior to the pandemic, the international occurrence of child and adolescent mental illnesses (across all mental disorders), was around 13.4%. However, since the beginning of the pandemic and with no end in sight, children and teenagers have experienced a significant dip in their mental health, showing that there has been an increase in depressive and anxiety symptoms in these young people.

Schools should be focusing on their students’ education, yes, but also the overall mental health of the student population. If many students’ grades are dropping, it doesn’t say something about the students; it says more about the amount of work they have and the rate that the work gets assigned. Students hope that the administration can see them struggling and find it in their hearts to give them a break, whether it’s as small as an hour, or as gargantuan as 2020 has been so far.

What’s motivating you this fall?  Share with us in the comments below!