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Overcoming Challenges!End of 2020-21 School Year
Written by Haram Yoon | Published. 2021.06.01 22:56 | Count : 165

Since the middle of March 2020, my school has begun online classes through zoom due to a COVID-19 pandemic. And after I came back to Korea, I started my junior year online, watching recorded classes instead of zoom live classes because of the time difference. So, instead of getting ready for school when I wake up, it became a routine to sit in front of the computer and check new uploaded classes and assignments. However, as the days pass, laziness grew on me. So here I am, looking back at how I changed through a year, and what I learned. In a nutshell, this year was a repetition of challenges and overcoming those. 

[Screenshot of classes from google classroom. Photo credit: Haram Yoon ]

First and foremost, I learned how to use time effectively. Online classes gave me a lot of free time. Of course, I miss spending time in school. However, I thought positively about the current situation and wondered how I could have a meaningful time. Therefore, I tried to use that time to study, learn new instruments, and spend time with my family. 

I read many books regardless of the types. The most interesting book was “How To Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates. According to the book, even though many factories stopped operating due to COVID-19, and the use of transportation decreased a lot, carbon dioxide emissions showed only a slight change of 5 percent decrease. These figures remind us of the livestock industry, which accounts for a large proportion of carbon dioxide emissions. So, my family made a habit of eating less meat by promising vegetarianism in the future. Also, I found myself enjoying science books, especially the part I already learned in the AP chemistry class. Thus, I was able to supplement insufficient knowledge. In turn, this process led me to apply for UT Austin College of natural science high school online research summer program and got accepted. I am looking forward to it!

[Picture of a “How To Avoid a Climate Disaster”. Photo credit: Haram Yoon]

Also, I taught myself how to play the ukulele and guitar. Even though I have spent a lot of years playing instruments such as piano, violin, and flute, I needed help from social media, especially YouTube to learn. Fortunately, the ukulele wasn’t hard to play. I was able to play almost all the songs I wanted to play. Then, I tried to learn guitar. I had to stretch my fingers wider and press the cord harder than the ukulele. It took more time to learn a single cord than the ukulele. However, I loved playing the guitar. I practiced every day and increased the number of songs I could play.

[Picture of me playing guitar. Photo credit: Haram Yoon]

However, there were downsides. Watching classes and doing assignments through my laptop made my eyes and shoulders tired. I stretched at least once in an hour to not have a forward head posture. I also procrastinate more than ever. Keeping an eye on daily uploaded assignments sometimes destroyed my passion. In addition, I felt isolated. Studying alone with only the computer in my house everyday was hard to get used to it. 

[Screenshot of me interviewing Anh Nguyen. Photo credit: Haram Yoon]

To share this view, I interviewed Anh Nguyen, who did online classes for the whole year just like me. “Taking tests online like time-limited tests or tests through zoom makes me more nervous. I made more mistakes. Also, less interaction with teachers makes me become an active learner. Sometimes I need more time to understand classwork than I did at school.” While talking, we felt that the disadvantages of online classes outweigh the advantages. But compared to myself, a year ago and now, I’ve changed a lot. By overcoming challenges, I gained self-directed learning skills, I became a person who could maintain passion in any future situation. “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity, Albert Einstein.” Based on this year's experience, I will make a crisis an opportunity in any future situation.

Everyone seems to have had a tough year in unexpected situations. However, I really appreciate the teacher's effort to keep both online and in-school students up. Now, planning to go back to regular school life in August, I’m a bit nervous and extremely excited at the same time. The 2020-2021 school year feels so long, but I’m glad that we all survived! 


Haram Yoon
11th grade - junior
Holy Trinity Catholic High School (TX)

Haram Yoon  student_reporter@dherald.com

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