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  • Writer's pictureJames Hock - MRH Faculty

Has the unique experience for recent High school students affected their motivation and work ethic?

By Julian K.

Current high school students have had a unique experience in high school compared to many other students from past years. This experience can be chalked up to the world wide pandemic that started in 2020. Recently this issue has calmed down in most parts of the world and has let students go back to school. However are they the same students they were that were exiled from schools in early 2020?

Records from Harvard on students' motivation during the pandemic have shown where students' motivation levels were in the middle of the pandemic. In the article “My Get Up and Go Got Up and Went written by Andrew Bauld during the height of the pandemic in spring 2021, there are many points about both students and teachers being burnt out, and both of them having a hard time staying engaged during online classes.

This team of researchers put this lack of motivation to many things, some of which were absence of interaction and activities happening in their life that would normally be happening via their school. However even now there have been students that have been reached out to at Mountain Range High School to see where these motivation levels are currently at and were before COVID.

“My motivation has decreased dramatically,” Gabby A., a sophomore at Mountain Range stated. “It was very hard and draining to wake up and go directly on a computer for eight hours a day. After online school, going back to in-person was even more draining. I still lack motivation to do all my schoolwork.” These statements do coincide with those written in the height of the pandemic, the long draining online school days left students feeling unmotivated and less likely to complete or want to complete their work.

However it is particularly concerning how she has not gained any, but lost more motivation to do well in school. Even with activities and socialization she has still not bounced back from the pandemic that condemned students to their computers. These long and dragged out school days of sitting at home on a computer did not entice productive behavior from students. This was a poor stepping stone for students to re-enter or enter high school. There has to be more to why students lost motivation and in this case have not gained any back.

Another student was asked about this, this time however a senior at Mountain Range High School, Jackson S. He stated, “Before Covid I think I tried harder and got better grades but my stress was also much higher.” These statements are close to those that we stated before. However more insite may have been gained on why these students have lost their motivation.

The stress levels, as Jackson said, were higher before COVID in terms of school. It is very possible that his high levels of stress in school paired with the new and unique stresses of the outside world had a huge impact on how Jackson coped with this stress. His sudden lack of motivation could be contributed to a burnout. (A reaction to prolonged or chronic job stress). This overload of stress may have led to students to accommodate for this amount of stress by lessening their worries about school. And as students pour back into High Schools these principles have stayed with them, and made them less motivated.

It is alarming that these two students share a similar decline in their school work priorities and their management of school in general. Along with this it was almost impossible to prepare what would happen in 2020 and 2021. Leaving everyone to have to adjust, and students seem to not have been able to adjust to this environment as well as many and themselves would have hoped. And from these two stories Jackson and Gabby have not been able to bring their motivation back to school.

This could be the main trend in most students who went through some of their schooling online during the pandemic. Hailey A., now a graduate and attending Front Range Community College, spoke upon her motivation as well. She spoke about her experiences, stating ,”After Covid I just lost all motivation to get stuff done.” Speaking straight at the thing that separated her two levels of motivation, COVID. Her poor experience with COVID and school during the pandemic very well could have led to a burnout similar to Jackson’s and some of which could be seen in Gabby’s statements as well.

Hailey continued on talking about how her motivation is even now in college where she has to have that motivation, in which she stated, “I want to succeed and do more but because I have trouble focusing I procrastinate.” She now is still feeling the effect of COVID and the way it seemed to stunt her growth as a student. And if anything weakened her as a student. The same can be said to all of the participants. With all of these burnouts it has clearly been difficult to continue on through school.

All of these examples are just a small sample size as well. Even if something is looked at like from The New York Times article, “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading,” just by this title one can be concerned by the damages that COVID has had on not just students' motivation but also their performance in school. These recorded burnouts of students and teachers are worrying for the future. Will this motivation carry on to their life outside of school? It is impossible to know until these students who have gone through this experience are finished with schooling.

However there are still millions of students in school who are still struggling with motivation in school and are impacting their lives as students. This alarming situation is a hard one to deal with for schools as how is one supposed to accommodate for what makes each student want to learn? How will Mountain Range help students continue learning at their best?

Julian Kane is a student at Mountain Range High School. Now in 12th grade, he has always

enjoyed telling stories or spreading information through his writing. He hopes to continue his

work through high school and finish with grades that both him and his mother will be pleased

with. He has always enjoyed writing and speaking what his mind is thinking or feeling.His main inspiration for writing is him trying to express things. This feeling comes from artists who do the same through music. He also enjoys playing basketball and spending time with his loved ones.

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