Along with countless other aspects of everyone’s lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically altered how people around the globe approach education. From joining online study groups to checking your email more often, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure that you thrive within virtual classrooms. Here are some tips to help you tackle online school:
- Time Management is Key. You have probably heard this statement outside of the context of virtual learning, but it becomes all the more important when working online. Think of time as a valuable, limited resource, and commit to using your time wisely. Each day, determine what needs to be done. This could include homework, Zoom meetings, grocery shopping, work, or even taking a nap. Identify how much time each activity will take, and dedicate a portion of your day to completing the task. Keeping track of this can be tricky, so I recommend using a planner of sorts. This could be a Google calendar, alarms on your phone, or old-school pen and paper. Time management requires the prioritization of tasks; you must recognize which undertakings need to be done the soonest and which have more flexibility. Once able to organize your tasks and time, completing work digitally becomes much more manageable.
- Create an Ideal Study Space. It’s hard to focus in a mountain of clutter, crumbs, and chaos. Instead, dedicate a portion of your home as a workspace. It could be a desk in your room, a kitchen table, or even a nearby park! A good work environment has minimal distractions and is quiet, organized, and separated from leisurely areas. During quarantine, it is easy to mix up our work and unwinding spaces, but it is important to separate them as much as possible to promote focus. Your study space can be made your own! Buy a houseplant or two, put up a poster, and equip it with snacks and a mini-fridge; the world is your oyster!
- Take Breaks! It’s easy to work for hours on end without taking any breaks or giving yourself a rest from schoolwork, emails, and mindless tasks. That being said, it is crucial that you take time to relax and unwind. Some people take breaks after virtual meetings, every twenty minutes, or while they are eating meals! Find whatever times work best for you. When taking breaks, you could walk around your neighborhood, watch TikTok for five minutes, or eat a quick snack!
- Form Virtual Study Groups. Studying is much easier with friends than alone. Set up a Zoom call with some friends in your classes to review notes together, talk about the subjects, and work on your homework! You could even try safely meeting in person by social distancing and wearing masks at a nearby park!
- Keep in Contact with Your Teachers & Peers. Checking your email has never been more important! Teachers and peers are constantly checking in, sending updates, and communicating with you through email, so make sure to dedicate some time every day to review, read, and respond to the emails you are getting! The same can be said for sending emails! Teachers are checking their emails regularly, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a teacher, counselor, or friend if you have a question or concern.
- Invest in What You’re Interested In! A positive to virtual learning is that we have some more time for ourselves! Use this extra time to join a club, participate in an outdoor activity, start an individual project, or read a book. You certainly do not have to be busy all the time, but making sure that you invest time in things outside of work or school is a part of maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle. Make time for doing things you are genuinely excited about, and find alternatives to the activities that you can no longer do because of COVID-19.
- Be Kind to Yourself. At the end of the day, we have to remember that we are facing political unrest, an unprecedented pandemic, and all the while being expected to do well in school, maintain a job, and participate in extracurricular activities. That’s a lot for any person to handle. You will not always win, get 100%, or “succeed”. You must make sure that you have immense compassion for yourself and understand that you are doing the best you can do under the given circumstances. We hope this helps you find some direction for the first quarter! Have an excellent September, Spartans!
– Maggie Di Sanza