What comes into your mind upon hearing the word “pandemic”? As a student, this means transitioning into a new, unusual, and challenging mode of learning. Instead of having face-to-face classes with my favorite Statistics and Calculus professors, or hanging around with my friends before and after class to eat our favorite dumplings, we find ourselves confined to a digital world where we can hear and see but not touch.

We used to study in a conducive environment where distractions were limited, allowing us to focus on our academics. Now, distractions are very prevalent—even as early as we wake up. We have the freedom to play our favorite mobile game and to watch every Korean Drama or Anime on our watch list as long as we want.

I know that there are still numerous, unstated challenges every student is facing right now, which would probably make each one of us doubt the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” Does every cloud have a silver lining? Can something good emerge from this challenging time?

The Challenge of Distraction

Before the pandemic occurred, it was definitely hard to motivate oneself to wake up for morning class. But in this time of distant learning, waking up has become even more difficult because of too much comfort from the bed. There are no teachers or instructors who will reprimand you if needed, or discipline you whenever you commit an act that distracts you from learning (like using your phone for recreational purposes, or when you put all of your attention in eating your favorite meal instead of focusing on a lecture.)

The Challenge of Disconnection

“Sa school nga, wala akong matutunan; sa online classes pa kaya.” (I learned nothing at school, what more from our online classes.) You will probably hear this statement when talking to a student who has a hard time coping with his/her academics through distance learning. It could be fun for me some, but in my opinion, it is true. It is definitely hard to learn Calculus, Physics, Accounting, and those other subjects in a confined and limited environment.
The usual teacher-learner connection is disrupted because of the new and unconventional conveyance of instructions, which is also affected by numerous internal and external factors (e.g. unfamiliarity with and accessibility to technology). Unlike in the conventional way of learning, you don’t have your peers by your side whom you could immediately ask regarding lessons that you are having a hard time with.

Coping with the New, Unusual, and Challenging Mode of Learning

Distractions are very prevalent during this new, unusual, and challenging mode of learning, but you can defeat them with discipline, focus, and willingness. These are your weapons against distractions that can come your way:

Tips to Cope with Distant Learning

  1. Even if no one’s watching you, have the initiative to discipline yourself to do every single task that you have to do.
  2. Have the willingness to learn even if it is challenging.
  3. Focus on your goal. Your “yes” to your ambitions means “no” to lingering distractions.

Always remind yourself to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Does Every Cloud Have a Silver Lining?

In the midst of challenging times, it is really hard to perceive positive effects that could emerge from this situation. May we be assured by the Word of God: “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness,” (James 1:3); “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope” (Romans 5:3-4).

During this stretching season, may we allow God to mold us from within, to showcase His sovereignty amidst the pandemic, and to exhibit His strength through our weaknesses. Every cloud is silver-lined when you are in the hands of God who can turn tests to testimonies and trials to triumphs.
When everything is getting out of control, trust the One who holds your future. When the waves of uncertainty surrounded you, trust your Creator who calms the storm.

Jhon Rhovic Talagtag

Jhon Rhovic Talagtag is a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) student achiever at Mapúa University Senior High School. He is passionate in tackling issues that pervasively attack what Dr. Jose Rizal referred to as the “hope of the nation”— the youth, as he is one of them. He is also affiliated with different school organizations that empower and equip the next generation.