From remote learning to wearing masks in the classroom, there’s no doubt that the past year and a half has been abnormal for students.  However, for those on the outside looking in, it may be hard to understand the student experience during the Covid-19 pandemic.


To get their perspective, the LenovoEDU Community recently interviewed students to hear their stories about being a student during the pandemic, their thoughts on remote learning, and a general understanding of what this whole experience has been like for them.


In today’s post, we hear from Advaidh Iyer, a 17-year-old high school senior and aspiring finance major.

Describe your experiences throughout the pandemic: At what point did you switch to remote learning?  If you did return to campus in the Spring, when did you return?

The Covid-19 pandemic served as a huge obstacle for me to overcome mentally and educationally as my eventful school year transformed into a virtual environment. Instead of a controlled school desk, I attended classes on my bed. Instead of pop quizzes and mid-term assessments, I needed to collaborate more directly with my peers for group tests and projects to prevent cheating. The shift in learning techniques and approaches initially stunned me, But as I learned to adapt to the new changes, I now am more confident to try new things and accept new challenges, for I have nurtured my skills in adaptation. While a majority of my 2020-2021 school year was spent learning in this format, I am excited to return in-person during the 2021-2022 school year.

What did you find most challenging about learning from home?

What I find most challenging about learning from home is the physical toll that came with my monotonous school routine. I spent my day joining period after period with only slight movement with my eyes fixed to the screen. This left me feeling sluggish throughout the day and made my eyes feel irritated and strained. Constantly sitting or lying down forced me out of shape. Once I started to realize the physical downsides to virtual learning, I motivated myself to start taking care of my body in ways to combat this issue. While this added more to my schedule of schoolwork and standardized test preparation, ultimately, I felt more engaged and focused with curated physical activity.

What did you find most rewarding about learning from home?

What I find most rewarding about learning from home is I can work at my own pace and create a perfect schedule for myself as classwork and homework would both have fairly lenient deadlines. I could incorporate more of my interests and hobbies into my schedule and inherently learn more about myself. For example, I found that I work more efficiently when I set goals for myself. Thus, I try to instill checkpoints in my path to success that are both hard and reasonable to reach.

Do you have any interesting stories from your learn-from-home experience? 

It was nearing winter break and my entire calculus class planned a “show and tell” class period, where we would each take turns presenting something we love. I had recently gotten a cat and was keen on showing it off. But, after she came into my room, I thought I had coerced her to sit still, but she quickly changed her mind and ran out. My presentation consisted of me trying to catch her as she ran into my bathroom and it ended in her hopping right into the toilet. A truly eventful show and tell.

Are you excited to return to in-person learning?

Yes. Over the past year, I have only formed relationships with 2 of my teachers face-to-face which left me feeling distanced from my learning. Additionally, I felt distracted in my uncontrolled home environment and missed the organic interactions with my classmates as we learned the material.

I quickly learned that the dynamic environment of school extended beyond the curriculum and learning material, but the engagement with peers and teachers while making the memories I was unable to in my junior year. I am confident that in-person learning would improve the quality of my learning and allow me to experience the social events during my senior year that other students have enjoyed in the past.

Are there any habits or hobbies that you picked up and you want to keep post-pandemic?

During the pandemic, my daily physical activity dropped tremendously without traveling to school or engaging in club sports. A few months in, I saw the deficits as I became easily fatigued and unmotivated in school. Moreover, during the infrequent times I did attempt physical activity, I could feel my stamina and endurance having dropped. I soon realized the issue was my diet.

In the past, my high daily physical activity attenuated the unbalanced, unhealthy food I consumed. As such, I became more conscientious of the fast food I was consuming and started replacing these foods with an at-home diet that included high levels of protein and nutrients. Since this change, I feel more engaged in my daily activities and find that I am more consistent and effective in my workouts.

How have you stayed connected with friends and family while learning remotely? How have your relationships changed? 

While my friends and I were unable to physically see each other for months at a time due to social distancing requirements, our immediate access to technology allowed us to stay connected virtually.

From using Netflix Party, a chrome extension to allow multiple users to watch the same movie at the same time and chat, to hopping on group zoom calls to complete our homework and study for exams, I ensured I maintained my relationships with my friends.

I haven’t seen much of a change in these relationships and as restrictions have slowly lifted as we are all vaccinated, resuming in-person social events has been seamless.

Years from now, what do you think you’re going to remember about 2020-21?

Years from now, I will remember the extra effort I needed to make to maintain my friendships and will be grateful for each in-person interaction I have with my friends. It has also showcased how a robust support system allowed me to navigate this uncertain time.

Moreover, the pandemic gave me a chance to instill positive fitness and diet changes into my life. I will carry these with me and be reminded of this journey during the pandemic. I also found alternative ways to enjoy fitness outside the gym such as golf and soccer which provided me fresh air and brought me closer to the outside world. I will be reminded of these diverse fitness methods and the time that compelled me to extend my understanding of fitness.

After school, what do you want your career to look like?

Post-college, I will take my finance and banking skills to an investment banking firm. My overall dream is to be an entrepreneur and gather the funds to start my own company.

After constructing a school organization, Youth Public Speaking Association, where I provide free public speaking services to low-income communities, I am excited to expand my inclination towards innovation and leadership in the business space.

The details of these efforts are still unclear, but I know my vision is to make an impact where there is need and curate a team of like-minded employees who are driven similarly. Who knows, you may see me on Shark Tank one day.


Stay connected to LenovoEDU Community for more Student Stories highlighting all types of the student experience from all levels.  Have a student story that you would like to share?  Leave a comment below!