Anna Schultz-Girl On Laptop In Bed

Online School Tips From Someone Who Did This in High School

In 2016, I decided that physically going to school to learn wasn’t for me. I had tried many forms of learning, including a stint at Quaker school. After two years at Catholic school, I was ready for a change of some sort. I picked the weirdest possible change: doing high school online. I had no set class times, just assignments I had to complete by the end of the year, and I checked in with teachers once every few months.

It was pretty much all in my hands, and it was the best decision I could have made. I became more independent, figured out my own learning style, and realized that taking a language online is not a good way to go. I also learned that I am a bit different from others. It was easy for me to transition from in-person to online, seamless even, but for others, that big of a change would be much more difficult.

I think a lot of this difference comes from how my change was voluntary, and this change right now is the opposite of that. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t make the best of a bad situation and still try to learn as best as we can, together at a social distance. Here are some tips to stay on top of your online schoolwork while still maintaining your sanity.

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1. Keep as much of your old routine as you want/can.

If you had a morning routine or workout routine from school that you liked or could transfer to your new living situation, do it. Shreds of normalcy will be what hold you together.

2. Do your work at the time of your classes.

There are awesome times built into the day where you used to be doing work: your old class times! Use them now to get your work done for those classes.

3. Make a space to do work.

I have a desk, but not everyone has that. However, you need to at least make a spot to keep your school supplies and have ideas for where you will do your work, even if the locations change. You can do work outside, on your bed, wherever you want, but keep a central space for your papers and notebooks for you to come back to.

4. Show up to class.

Even if attendance is not being taken, GO to class. There at least has to be something interesting happening, and if nothing else, it will remind you that you have responsibilities and are still in school.

5. Get a planner.

I love planner books, but a notebook is fine as well. Every Sunday, I go through my work for the rest of the semester and write down what work is due this week on a piece of paper. Then, I take that list and put it into my planner, writing what I will be doing each day. Having a plan for the day keeps me on track and ensures that I am never confused about scheduling, which can be hectic these days.

6. Organize a day to not do work.

Doing work at home can blur the lines between what is schoolwork, what is homework and what is just sitting at home, as well as what is a school day and what is the weekend. The possibilities are endless for sitting in one place and doing “work”, so make at least one day a week where you won’t be doing work.

7. Set boundaries with who you are living with.

We’re all at home, some of us with parents and siblings, and some with roommates, but we all have tons of distractions. Sit down with those you’re living with and set boundaries. Make sure they know when you’re in Zoom classes and that you actually have work to do. My personal favorite is before I go into a Zoom class, I scream throughout the house for everyone to “shut up”.

8. Get exercise and go outside.

No matter how busy you are, try to get outside a few times a week. It doesn’t have to be a walk, you can just admire the sky. Anytime you’re not sitting inside staring at a computer screen is a win.

9. Get the work done.

Last but not least, get your work done. A lot of us have a Pass/ Fail option, but you still need to do work to get on the Pass side of the pendulum. The semester is ending, power through! We can do this!