Virtual Learning with CCHS senior Macie Brannigan  

For the remainder of the 2020-21 school year, the South Colonie communications department will feature articles, district updates and information on the Class of 2021 from CCHS senior Ms. Deeg. Today, we introduce another one of her articles on CCHS senior Macie Brannigan. See what Ms. Deeg learned from this student as she participated in virtual learning for the 2020-21 school year.

Q&A with Macie Brannigan

CCHS senior Macie Brannigan working from home during the 2020-21 school year.
CCHS senior Macie Brannigan working from home during the 2020-21 school year.

Throughout the 2020-21 school year, many students have decided to participate in virtual learning from the comfort of their homes.  Being completely virtual can present both positive and negative experiences.  Meet Macie Brannigan. She’s currently a Colonie Central High School senior who has been involved in virtual learning since September.  Learn how she details her virtual classroom experience and see how she’s adapting to the completion of her senior year.

Why did you choose virtual learning over a hybrid schedule?  

I chose a completely virtual schedule because I have complete control over my health at my own home.  I feel safer being at home rather than being in a school setting.  My schedule is strict, but I have additional freedom working from home.  It’s also easier to work after school because I’m not as tired from being in school all day.  I enjoy being able to take breaks when needed.  I also love being able to stay in my pajamas.

What has been the biggest advantage about virtual learning?

I feel more well-rested.  Online classes don’t tire me out as much as going into a school setting.  I also don’t have to wake up earlier to catch the bus.  For me, online school has been easier to get better grades because of how energized I feel.  I stay more focused being at home and have hardly any distractions.  It’s also easier for me to work on a full stomach, since I don’t have to wait for my lunch period to make food.

What has been the biggest challenge for you participating in a virtual format? 

The biggest challenge for me is the communication with my teachers and the guidance office.  I struggle with not getting as much information as I normally would if I were in school.  This includes deadlines, marking periods, and information on assignments. This year, I also struggled the most with sitting in bed all day.  In a normal school year, I would be able to get some form of exercise and interaction with my classmates and teachers. 

How do you feel overall about virtual learning during your senior year?  

Everyone has seen their family members prom and graduation photos, but I will never get those traditional photos of my own.   I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of important events that people have talked about my entire life.  Prom, graduation, senior breakfast, and the senior picnic are activities that I’ve heard about throughout my time in high school from friends and family.  I have always looked forward to the freedom of senior year, whether it was school events or just socializing with friends, but now I am missing out on what is supposed to be the best year of high school.  

What do you wish was different about virtual learning?  

This year, each teacher has a different way of online learning, especially the requirements from class to class.  I think today’s teachers should communicate more with one another and share ideas on how they can successfully maintain outreach for virtual learning.  Technology can be hard for some teachers and I think there needs to be additional information provided to assist with that outreach.  For example, my attendance is different with every teacher.  Some require daily attendance, some can be based on our Google Meets, and some don’t require attendance at all or only on certain days.  I think the teachers are doing the best they can considering the circumstances, and the students can see that.  This year has proven just as difficult for teachers, as it has for students.