My son’s life was forever changed during and after Covid. His senior year, his college plans, and seemingly everything was impacted. Today I’m sharing his and our journey, highlighting Connectivity Changing Student’s Lives.
This post has been brought to you in partnership with T-Mobile, but as usual, all opinions are my own.
So many students’ lives changed after the pandemic and many are still suffering the consequences and adapting to this new reality.
I recently read a story shared by T-Mobile of students who faced serious challenges to their education during remote learning because of a lack of connectivity, and how the company is helping to support those in need to help close the digital divide through their Project 10Million initiative. It inspired me to share my family’s own story.
Let me walk you through my son’s journey, which is just one story among millions of students who had their lives drastically altered when everything went digital.
For me, the lockdown, school closures, and remote learning imposed a harsh reality on students who, like us, needed interaction and their community to thrive!
My son and many others had their anxiety and depression heightened by the lockdown and the imposed remote learning landscape.
The learning process through computer use highlighted technical problems both coming from the schools themselves and connectivity issues at the students’ homes, where many didn’t have reliable internet to support this new normal.
Anxiety and stress piled up in so many homes where parents lost their jobs and/or had to stay home with the kids.
Unfortunately, not having a computer, tablet or internet was a reality for many of those families.
Though school districts scrambled to provide support and got creative with expanding technology access during the pandemic’s onset, reports estimated that between 9 million and 12 million U.S. students still lacked adequate internet access at home for remote learning in 2021. Whether because they had no internet or an unsustainable connectivity option for the amount of work they were doing online, it wasn’t enough.
In our case, the problem was amplified due to the fact that my husband and I work from home in tech/internet-related businesses!
We did have the technology part of it, but the remote learning environment was not a good fit for my son’s mental health, and the challenges he was already facing were exacerbated by the isolation of having school at home.
The years 2020 and 2021 were some of the hardest years of our lives, I can say that for sure! He had no prom, no SAT scores, and almost no graduation in person, which we only had because it was outdoors.
We moved him from private school since his small Christian School did not have any tech structure to support remote learning. That also took a toll on him…another thing to be added to the equation. He moved in his junior year to public school for the first time in his life.
A lot to take in, right?
No last memories with the kids who grew up with him, no friends, and nothing to look back at and miss.
The pandemic took a toll on my son’s education journey, and we saw it continue from high school right onto his college campus, which quickly went into lockdown mode after 1400 cases of Covid were reported in one month.
He returned home after just a semester back to the dreaded remote learning where he was feeling stressed, anxious, and defeated.
Fast forward 2 years and he is back at a new university, but not in person.
Remote learning actually became the only option for him and so many other students, who are still navigating these uncharted waters, moving forward, and coping with anxiety and mental health issues.
My son’s story is just one of millions of students affected by the pandemic.
We’re so proud of him for continuing on in his journey despite these challenges and growing through the process. We’re also grateful that we have the tech structure and a reliable internet to support his goals and dreams.
Like my son, she navigated the uncertainty of the school learning process during the pandemic during high school and into her first college experience as well.
I was so moved by her story that I wanted to share some of my favorite moments which really resonated with our family story as well:
She was super grateful, that when remote learning came into place she received a hotspot from T-Mobile and was able to complete high school and then complete an associate’s degree in cybersecurity. She is now studying criminal justice at a university. She says that “it’s so crazy to think just a few years ago I was home alone with nothing but my laptop and a hotspot to do it!”
The article really gave me pause. I was really taken aback when it highlighted that: “As we head into the last months of 2023, it’s becoming obvious that almost four years since COVID forced students into fully remote education, and later for many into a hybrid model, that the students who had just started high school at that time are now starting college.
Students who were previously focused on SATs, college decisions, and proms in 2020 were suddenly thrust into a completely different high school experience. Many faced barriers that seemed insurmountable to graduating in the same secure standing they expected.”
Coral, like my son – a high school student at the time – was one of those students in Houston. She has been vocal about the importance of T-Mobile’s Project 10Million in her life. The program is a $10.7 billion nationwide initiative aimed at helping to close the digital divide in education by offering free internet connectivity and mobile hotspots to up to 10 million eligible student households.
“I didn’t think I would ever set foot into a physical campus again,” she says. It was that way for my son!
“There were some really uncertain moments but I’m just so grateful and excited for what the future holds now. I’m not just the first one in my family to graduate high school, but to also receive an associate’s college degree and go to a university!”
I was extremely happy to learn that T-Mobile’s Project 10Million also offers school districts free and heavily subsidized data plans as well as access to affordable laptops and tablets!
By the end of 2022, the company provided $4.8 billion in services and connected more than 5.3 million students across the U.S. through Project 10Million and its other education initiatives, isn’t that amazing?
I’m moved reading about it and how T-Mobile has bridged the gap to meet such an important need and reduce the obstacles between a student and their education by helping them to grow and succeed.
The need for strong connectivity is here to stay!
Coral was the first in her family to obtain a college associate degree and it moves me as a Latina to see that Project 10Million is changing lives through connectivity for the betterment of our community!
She’s proud to be sharing her story now with a degree in cybersecurity in hand thanks much in part to the connectivity she had from the T-Mobile hotspot which allowed her to continue her education online.
I read her story to my son, to inspire him in his remote college journey, to keep going for his dreams!
My hope is that Coral, as the first in her family to go so far, will inspire others to accomplish their dreams as well!
Learn more about Project 10Million and register your school district or student for the program, by CLICKING HERE!
I can’t wait to hear what you think of my input on Connectivity Changing Students’ Lives.
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