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Stuck Behind a Screen… Forever?

Interview with Mariam Japaridze

By Mariam Sesili Dzidzikashvili

Ever since the pandemic started, the concept of online school has been revolutionary for schools and even jobs. Many students can’t remember what life was like pre-pandemic when all schools were solely offline. Thankfully, we are in the midst of recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic, and schools are slowly starting to open up physically and shift back to their traditional ways of teaching. However, some students still prefer (or are obligated) to stay online, whether that be because they are scared of the virus or just choose not to go.

Mariam Japaridze is one of our freshmen students who has moved to GZAAT this year. She has been online since the beginning of the school year. In this interview, Mariam talks about her experience of online schooling in GZAAT, and how she feels about it.

Q: Do you wish you weren’t online?

A: Of course, I would love to socialize with new people at school and meet my new teachers and classmates, but because of Covid, I have to stay home. Even though I like spending time at home, I miss socializing with new people and making new friends. It’s boring at home, but I hope I'll be able to come to school this year.

Q: How would you assess the quality of your education?

A: There’s not a lot of difference, because I’ve been online studying since Covid started, but when you're physically attending classes, you are more easily engaged in the learning process, which makes it easier for students and teachers to have more quality time during classes. I’m still trying to do my best in all of the classes. Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up, but teachers and kids are doing their best to include me in everyday activities and discussions, so I don’t feel left out at all. It’s very hard to spend most of your days at home, staring at the screen, doing homework, and repeating the same routine every day. However, schoolwork is something that gets me through the day, and slowly it has become one of the things I look forward to. It passes time so quickly, and the process is also so satisfying and enjoyable.

Q: What is one thing you love and one thing you dislike about online school?

A: I love that I don’t have to get up extra early in the mornings to get to school, because I love sleeping—I spend most of my time on weekends studying, reading, and napping. That's one good thing about online school. One thing I dislike about I would socialize more with students and teachers in real life, and I’d get to meet new people and make new friends. I really appreciate how my classmates are friendly to me, I don’t really feel left out, but I would socialize MORE if I was physically going to school. Also, I would spend a lot of time in the library, reading A LOT OF BOOKS. Maybe I’d live there between the bookshelves!

Q: Are you planning on coming back to school?

A: I don’t think I’ll be able to this year because of the Covid situation, but I am surely going to physically attend classes in the next grade.

Q: Do you think your grades would be different if you attended school physically?

A: I’m doing really well even now, but if I was attending classes physically, it would be much easier to get the gradesI’m getting now.

Q: What is something that you’ll miss about being online if you ever come back?

A: One thing I’ll miss is getting up 20 minutes before classes start. I am willing to sacrifice my sleeping hours for GZAAT when I come back, though, because it’s so worth it!

Q: Is socializing/getting to know your classmates and peers harder?

A: It is, truly. I mean, they only see me through the screen, only during classes, and they can’t really get to know me. When I come to school, I'm sure I’m going to make a lot of new friends and have a fulfilling high school experience.

Q: Do you feel connected to the school life/culture/activities?

A: Yes, I totally do! You can feel the power of the Harkness Method through the screen. All of the school activities, like having meetings with very interesting people, are so refreshing. GZAAT Gazette is honestly one of my favorite things of all time! I love all of the articles and interviews. I love Fashion at GZAAT and Daily pictures too. I recently became part of it, and I can't wait to do my part in GZAAT Gazette!

As it seems, Mariam Japaridze is enjoying her time being online in GZAAT; the online program seems to be a success! As predicted, she does feel somewhat disconnected from her teachers and classmates, but this is natural. Nonetheless, according to her, the quality of education she’s getting while online seems to be great, and she still manages to feel somewhat connected to school life.

Edited by Mariam Kalandadze

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Mariam Japaridze
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