Griffin Ting: End of the School Daze

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A teenage boy stands smiling on a rocky shoreline with the ocean behind him

To Griffin Ting the new school year promises an end to the isolation of last year’s virtual classrooms.

If you’d asked me pre-pandemic where school landed on a list of priorities between one and five, it’s likely I would have listed it at a four. Ask me this year, and the answer would probably be two. I know it might sound weird for a kid to say that he wanted to go back to school, but trust me, what I’m about to share with you might convince you otherwise.

Everything moved really slowly this past year: I rolled out of bed, ate breakfast, then stared at my computer screen for seven hours a day. I rarely ever left my house, even to go see my friends. Even though I had my family, I felt isolated.

The past year made me re-examine the flow of time. Why is it when you’re having fun, time flies, but when you’re bored, it moves so slowly?

Scientists have researched this question. There’s a lot of documented cases of people suffering from physical and mental illness and distorted senses of time after extreme isolation. Our brains are used to taking in a lot of information daily: sounds, encounters with friends, processing conversations. The effect of taking these things away starves us of what we’re used to and stresses us out, according to science writer Michael Bond. It turns out, this experience of having an information-starved, restless mind is a form of boredom.

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So there’s a scientific explanation for the ” boredom” that I and millions of other students suffered from during lockdown: My mind was active, but didn’t have many places or people to focus on. My room was certainly not a good environment for schoolwork. There was no-one to interact with in person, the routine was too repetitive. Nothing changed for long periods of time, and it stressed me out.

I am not the first kid to report struggles with online school and many high school students don’t cope well with it either.

My mind is still active, and now that we’ll be going back to school in real life, I hope that more real life social interaction will help me keep my mind active.

With a Perspective, I am Griffin Ting.

Griffin Ting is a junior at Miramonte High School in Orinda.