“I hate virtual and I miss humans. I’m not okay.”: Green Level Students on their Mental Health


Graphic made by A. Guo

Virtual students are struggling, it is time to check in with us.

A. Guo, Editor-in-Chief

When people ask me where I want to go most after I am fully vaccinated, I always say school. I miss riding the bus in the pitch black dark; watching the sunrise in through the large library before first period; quietly working on my class assignments amongst the chatter of my thirty classmates; making eye contact with a table mate when somebody makes a weird joke mid-lecture; pretending not to be out of breath after climbing four flights of stairs for my chemistry class. But I don’t get any of this anymore, and many of my peers and I haven’t for more than a year.

Mental health issues like anxiety and depression have risen nationwide during the pandemic and students at Green Level High School are not immune to these problems, especially those in Virtual Academy. It’s time to recognize this.


Green Level High School students averaged a 4.78 out of 10 when asked to rate their mental state.


While some students and staff are able to attend in-person, many must sit through the school day in front of a screen. Many of those in Virtual Academy have emphasized the toll of being completely virtual, “It has been pretty stressful, it hasn’t been the same as normal school. Home life is still fine, but it hasn’t been that fun, and I’ve been pretty down this past year.” 

When talking to students about school, the phrase, “burnt out” was commonly used, and according to a survey conducted by the Gator’s Eye, 88.89% of students said that they have lost motivation throughout the year. One Green Level student said, “Everything has become the same, since I sleep in the same room as I do school and have lunch. It’s kind of like Groundhog Day.” Other students mentioned that it is difficult to do anything at all, and focusing during full one hour class periods and completing all homework is hardly enjoyable.

Jake Juliano, a fully virtual student, describes how online classes have felt unenjoyable and have been filled with tedious busy work, “The work is not actually educational, but there’s still a lot of stress since it will harm your grade if you don’t do it.” Furthermore, he points out that it seems like there is an endless amount of work, “We show up to school for a full work day and then are expected to continue working after the conclusion of the school day.”

Many other students also voiced their thoughts on workload and stress, “I feel very burnt out because of school, I feel like work keeps on getting piled and piled on and we don’t get a breather,” one student said. Other students discussed how stress has affected their physical health and sleep, one Green Level student saying, “I wake up in the middle of the night due to stress,” and another expressing, “I get stressed and have no free time, so I watch shows late at night and don’t sleep. I hate this.”

These feelings are exacerbated with AP and final exams on the horizon, many students expressing their loss of motivation, “The subjects stress me out, especially the ones I don’t like. I feel so alone.” Others commented on how having multiple graded assignments in every class have also furthered these feelings.


So what can be done?

First and foremost, check-in with your students. We care if you care about us, even if our cameras are off and we can’t manage to turn in our assignments on time, we care. Whether we enjoy the subjects we are taking or not, we spend four or more hours in front of a screen everyday. Check-in with us, and let us know how it is going for you too.


Furthermore, here is some other feedback from students:

  • I wish they could have a regular schedule. Like tests will always be on a certain day or we will always have homework due at a certain time. It would make preparing so much easier and give me some kind of routine. My chem teacher, Ms. Gordon, does a really good job balancing mixed classes. She checks the chat often and always knows when things will be due. She is consistent and I appreciate that. 
  • None of my teachers know about my mental health, depression, exhaustion and lack of motivation because I’m not in person. Normally they’d be able to see the physical signs and notice that I’m not okay. I don’t feel like I have a connection with my teachers because I’ve never actually met any of them so I don’t feel okay opening up to them. Also, a lot of them have the Google Meet on speaker so I can’t unmute after live time and tell them because my in person classmates will hear. I wish they’d do weekly mental health checks and maybe “stay after class” with those of us who aren’t okay and just help us with stuff. I know that’s not their job but it would help me so much if they did mental health checks.
  • Juliano says, “Mr. Hill, my APES teacher, is very flexible with due dates and ways that we can complete our assignments. Additionally, for our tests, he lets us use the internet and cite our sources because what matters is our ability to synthesize the course material rather than having everything memorized, and for this reason he will always be one of my favorite teachers ever.”
  • Juliano also comments on a school policy implemented more recently, “Assigning work to be due by the end of class rather than by the end of the day is very stressful when you’re already burnt out from just having class and sleep deprived from trying to complete longer term assignments after school long with extracurriculars and just life in general.”
  • Sachi Agarwal says, “Ms. Rudd gave us an off day right before break which was so much more of a lifesaver than she even knows. We’re constantly doing stuff and I think it’s important for teachers to stop once in a while, even if it is only for 20 minutes or something as simple as no homework.”
  • I wish they let us leave when we weren’t doing anything in class, instead of making us do busywork or staying on in silence.
  • Please avoid surprise homework, assignments and stuff. It makes it a lot harder, especially when everything around us is so uncertain. I know it’s hard for you to plan everything out but it really would help us, especially the virtual kids.