Learning To Make A Loud Home Into A Quiet Study Space

Online learning and at-home classrooms have become familiar concepts in our new reality since the spread of the coronavirus. Schools everywhere are having to take extreme measures to do their part in bringing this pandemic to an end by closing their physical doors and opening virtual spaces. As a result, students are having to acclimate to an environment they never expected and, for many, never wanted. As a university student, I left campus and returned home to finish my third year “at” UCLA. At home, I have met many obstacles which have made my ability to learn via online classes a difficult one. Here are a few tips and tricks I have found and tested to make my loud home into a quiet study space:Yasmine BoheasTo give some insight, my “at home” classroom consists of one loud 16-year-old brother who finds that the best way to keep connected to his friends is by yelling at them over his game headset, two barking and needy dogs, one talkative mother who loves speakerphone and one loud father who must also work at home by creating instructional videos for his students in the living room. Needless to say, it is no Powell Library. 

The first thing I did was make everyone aware of when I was going to be “in lecture”. I made copies of my schedule, sent them to each of my family members and physically posted them wherever my family could see them. Then, I told them that, during my lectures, my entire class could hear whatever they were saying, including my professor. This got my 16-year-old brother’s attention. I made sure not to mention I can put myself on mute most of the time during class because, since I cannot put my family on mute and avoid the noise myself, it seemed a pretty irrelevant detail. 

Another way to create a peaceful learning environment is by finding an isolated and calm space that allows you to create the space you want. Amidst this crisis, a lot of our control and power has been taken away from us. Our ability to go places is restricted, our experiences are being taken from us, students are being displaced and we are being forced to deal with many factors we did not expect. One way to stabilize yourself and focus your mind is by eliminating as many uncontrollable variables as possible. Find a room where you can shift things around, rearrange desk space, adjust lighting and keep it that way for as long as it suits you. Find a space that you can control. You may also want to close some windows to eliminate outside variables. You might even pick a space outside. Either way, you are taking advantage of your control by choosing your own space and isolating yourself from unwanted factors.books on a bookshelfOne thing that many stressed out college students are comforted by is a schedule. At home, it is easy to become distracted and forget that home is also now school. It is also easy to lose that driving force to get schoolwork done and study because students are no longer among their peers who create an environment that encourages them. Creating a schedule is another example of imposing some control over one’s own at-home experience. Lecture times keep students on track in terms of a classroom schedule, but the students must create a studying schedule for themselves. Do what works for you and, to eliminate family noises, make that schedule transparent to your family as well. For some, it might be helpful to create designated time slots for work. For others, like myself, I make sure I work for 3 hours a day. It doesn’t matter for what class or if the only thing I can work on is not due for another few days, so long as I am working. This keeps me moving and reminds myself and my family that, even though I am at home, I am also still in school. Furthermore, make sure that the study space is either the same every time, or are one of three study spaces you use. It is important, once again, that this space is controlled and that it is your space. a photo of an open plannerThe main thing to keep in mind is that this is not an extended spring break. Life must go on, whether it be in a new space or not. I have found that facing the reality of this with my family is what has kept my study space the most quiet. More than anything, the noisy period in your home is a transitional period and, though it may take some time, everyone in your family will eventually understand that and everyone’s space will be respected. That being said, talk about any issues you are facing while trying to find a study space at home, work with them and give it time. Everyone is affected and everyone is trying to make it work. Be patient, be kind, be considerate and keep moving on.