The Importance of Nature in Students’ Lives

Zoe Gossa

During the Covid-19 pandemic, social gatherings were not permitted. Because people couldn’t be together in enclosed spaces, they turned to spending time in nature. 

After spending a significant amount of time outside, people realized it affected other parts of their lives, as many students have reported. According to Gen Meredith, associate director of the Master of Public Health Program at Cornell University, nature has been found to have a positive impact on education, physical health, emotional well-being, and personal and social skills. 

Students specifically benefited from this change. They found that it changed the quality in their schoolwork as well as their learning experiences. A small group of BCA students were asked how they feel spending more time in nature affects their education.

Studies have shown that taking breaks while working by going outside helps one concentrate for longer periods of time.  

“Being outside makes me less stressed and allows me to focus better because I am able to take some time off from school,” AVPA sophomore Bori Chung said. “Coming back inside allows me to come to school more focused.”

Similarly, ABF sophomore Aniyah Thorpe said, “Spending time outside gives me better focus and gives me the ability to be more creative and enhances my abilities.” After spending time in nature, the students found that spending time in nature helps them prevent stress and anxiety and helps them focus better in school.

While students were taking classes from home, they could easily step outside between Zoom meetings. However, it has proved to be more challenging to do this while at physical school. Still, students have found ways to continue spending time in nature.

During their lunch period, students have taken to going outside instead of eating lunch in the cafeterias. Aniyah said, “Normally, I go to the upper cafe to eat and go outside afterwards to have a breath of fresh air, walk around, and socialize.”

Eating lunch outside allows students to go into their afternoon classes with a fresh mind. “It gives them a ‘breath of fresh air’ and ‘A chance to reset,”said Aniyah.

Likewise, Bori said that “After being outside my approach to homework is calmer and it is peaceful coming back.” The change in scenery brought about by going outside allows students to regroup and gives them the chance to destress and go back to class with more energy and motivation.

Staying inside all day and going from class to class can become tiring and monotonous. Many students stated that taking a class outside once in a while would create a better learning environment. 

While some teachers have taken the opportunity to bring their students outside, most have not. Culinary sophomore Sylwia Zak recalled that taking a class in nature “was more interactive and got me to think.” 

Students who haven’t been outside for class strongly felt that they would have the same experience if they had been given the chance. Culinary sophomore Sofia Vergara said “Taking a class outside would provide a change in environment which would keep me more awake and give me energy.” The environment of the classroom would likely be lighter and more peaceful because the students wouldn’t be constantly looking at the board in class. Moreover, if everyone were to be outside, then the environment of the class would become more exciting and engaging, both to the students and the teachers.

After interviewing the students, the importance of nature in their lives became clear. Incorporating the outdoors into their schedules proves to be a significant factor in their work ethic, energy levels, and overall state of mind. With these opinions and facts in mind, spending time outside should become a priority for the school and students.