Zoom Fatigue

Junior explains effects of ‘Zoom etiquette’


Olivia Sherlock , Story Editor

March 12, 2020, was the last day the students of Blue Valley went to school altogether in person. While the switch from in-person learning to an online and hybrid learning model has proven to look out for the physical health of students, many people believe it to be harmful to another type of health — mental. 

Junior Sofia Ortiz has been able to go up to the school to do her online classes in a classroom. Ortiz is grateful to have the opportunity to go to the school and learn there, but still faces the challenges of online learning, like many teachers requiring cameras to be on during class. 

“My peers in my Zoom classes see me wearing a mask which is kind of awkward,” Ortiz said. “I do get a little worried they are judging me or making assumptions about me being at school, like that I am in trouble or I am a struggling student.”

Sticking out is not the only stressful distraction for Ortiz; speaking in class also poses a challenge that is based deeper than public speaking. 

“I get uncomfortable sometimes [speaking in a Zoom] because there are students around me who are also learning,” Ortiz said. “I get nervous people will hear me talking to my computer or I will disrupt someone else’s learning.”

Mental health studies have sparked around the world on the effects of the prolonged use of an electronic device. Students, including Ortiz, must learn new ways to juggle time management while also pushing themselves to succeed. 

“Some major problems my friends and I have been experiencing is the lack of motivation and the exhaustion from looking at a computer screen all day,” Ortiz said. “Every day is very similar — we wake up, we open our laptops and we work all day. Then we continue on our laptops in the evening to work on homework.”

Mental health is not the only thing affected by online education; physical health has been impacted, too. 

“It is harder to get physical activity,” Ortiz said. “It’s easy to resort to low-energy-requiring things, such as scrolling on social media or eating comfort foods, which are both unhealthy for the mind and body.”

This is an unprecedented time for students and teachers alike. Many teachers try hard to make the class interesting, informative and nonstressful. Despite the staffs’ best efforts, the conditions in which students learn can be taxing. 

“It’s hard to do the same thing over and over and have to make sure you look happy and OK on camera because sometimes teachers will call you out and ask if you’re OK in front of everyone,” Ortiz said. “It’s kind of embarrassing.”

Though the circumstances are not ideal, Ortiz tries to make the most of it by building rapport with teachers and classmates through Zoom. 

“It’s honestly so heartwarming to see the joy teachers get when you turn your camera on, say hi, thank you or have a nice day,” Ortiz said. “It’s the little things, especially in difficult times like these.”