By Abigail Cayabyab
I realize that it has been more than a year since you’ve been caught up with this online school setup. At first, you didn’t know how to feel about it. I know you felt hesitant, unsure, and somewhat weirded out by this sudden change. Along the way, you knew you had to make it work. Although here’s the thing — knowing is so much different from understanding.
At the time, you did not, cannot, and should I even say: will not comprehend the state that you were in. You simply knew. You did not understand that it wasn’t a short-term setting. You did not understand that it wasn’t easier. You did not understand the gravity of things that will be affected by the current circumstances. You just knew that you had to continue doing what you’re doing, still get good grades, and just make it work. I don’t hold it against you, I thought and did the exact same thing. I was grateful for all the time that I could save by attending school at home. I was elated by the fact that I didn’t have to recite in front of the whole class during lectures or performing a return demonstration during skills lab. I was glad to take quizzes and examinations from my computer instead of from a paper because it took some kind of pressure from me. I would even dare say that I was enjoying it, well, at least for the first few weeks and months.
Sometime after, there have been announcements regarding virtual duty alongside online lectures and webinar series. The past year has surely been a challenge. As a nursing student, I have experienced handling patients in actual hospitals, clinics, and health centers. Now, there is no real-life patient interaction, instead, it’s all on paper. Along the line, there has also been a mention of the possibility of delayed graduation.
So, after a while, I couldn’t feel relaxed and glad anymore. I felt a mixture of numerous emotions and pondered countless thoughts.
I wonder if the knowledge and skills that I have and will acquire from this online setup will suffice in the field one day. I wonder if I’ll be able to graduate on time. I wonder if I’ll even graduate competent and skilled. Each day that passes, I constantly question myself about these things; and feel anxious and worried about the future ahead of me. In line with this, I also felt shame and guilt because I did not even realize the battles that each person was going through outside the walls of my home. There is a pandemic occurring outside, and I was too self-absorbed to remember it.
I realized that although I’m not expected to, I’m still supposed to take part in something that can help my community. But what can I do? I’m still just a student nurse. Right now, I can only focus on my education. The face-to-face classes are so much more different as compared to the online setting. Although this doesn’t mean that the education I obtain abates, it’s the circumstances that have changed, not me as a person. I can still work hard and put in the same amount of “all-out” effort that I did during face-to-face classes so that I can wish that it would be enough to make me more than capable and proficient. Because even though I may not yet have the chance to help today, I am hoping and praying that someday I will.
Now that I think about it, I won’t deny that it is important, but it is really not just about the grades that we’re getting. Let’s admit it, we’ve been always so caught up with the “passing” mark or the “outstanding” grades that we often seem to forget something that is so much greater than these things— the learnings. We always seem to overlook its essence and the weight that it plays for our future. If your grades don’t define you, then your competence will.
So, to my fellow students, I urge you to focus your energy on acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in your field instead of simply concentrating on getting good enough grades. I also encourage you to steadfastly hope and dream amidst these trying times. For one day, when the disease has been eradicated and it’s all over, we can all say that we have defeated a challenge; and we have not only come out unscathed but illuminated as ever as well.
An aspiring student like You
Abby Cayabyab is a senior Nursing student and a consistent Dean's lister at Medici di Makati College or formerly known as Makati Medical Center College and an aspiring doctor.
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