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Virtual Learning: 5 Tips for a Successful School Year

Irma Ahmed

September 8th, 2020- “It’ll be so fun waking up late and sleeping in class!”

March 1st, 2021- 5 late assignments, eye bags, no schedule, and countless sleepless nights later, you finally realize: “online school does not mean I have a day off.”

From the beginning of 2020, all the way to this exact moment, many of us have faced insurmountable changes in our lives that have blurred our future goals. Whether it was missing grad, or losing the chance to prank a classmate, very few people can confidently say, “I have changed for the better this year.” When online school started back in September, students were ecstatic, begging their parents to enroll them for online classes. The thought of extra sleep, social media during class, and not being called on by a teacher was definitely the dream life, but we were woken up too early. So, how can you fight the COVID-19 slack bug? Keep reading to learn 5 ways you can change your habits for the better.

  1. Take away distractions

When at home, many people have an environment that prevents them from being dedicated solely to learning. This can be loud family members, technology, or even people randomly walking into your room. Although at times this can’t be controlled, it is important to surround ourselves with items that remind us of our focus: school. At the moment, social media seems like a harmless way to rid the boredom that staring at a screen brings, but then a time comes where we will once again return to our day to day lives, making it harder than ever to sit through class. When you sit down for class, be sure to have everything you would take to school in a non-virus world. This can include your computer, textbook, notebook, writing utensils, a small snack, and water. With everything right at your disposal, you will have fewer excuses to wander around your house. A tip from fellow Cohort C students is to keep your phone in a separate room or place it in your backpack so you only reach for it during break.

  1. Participate in online discussions

Now, I know most people are thankful that they can sit quietly at home, no need to participate. Whether we like it or not, the fear of being called on is what actually keeps students aware. Set a goal for yourself to participate at least once in every class, whether through a discussion, or a question. This acts as a checkpoint, analysing what you have learned so far in class. If you find yourself unable to answer a question, then you know that you are having trouble understanding what is being taught, or you just aren’t paying attention.

  1. Reward yourself

Find something that inspires you to sit through the entire class, fully attentive. This can be anything, from food, Netflix, painting, or even pranking a sibling. Setting a goal for yourself with a reward at the end is the most simple and beneficial strategy to get something done. Just as you can’t always study for a test an hour before, your mind needs to process information in longer periods, making it effective to have a reward system so that even the smallest rewards can get you pumped. If you have an assignment coming up, set a date and maybe even a time to work on it, with a prize for completing this goal, like 30 minutes of Fortnite.

4. Set a schedule

With uneven sleep schedules and 5+ hours of sitting at a desk, our bodies are adapting to this unhealthy lifestyle. No matter how tempting the extra sleep may be, try to wake up 20 minutes earlier than your usual time, just enough to eat a healthy breakfast before class begins. Use opportunities like academic support to get homework out of the way, so that you have more time to do things you enjoy. The word “schedule” reminds many people of long lists of school work- a daily reminder of how much needs to be done in so little time. Try to write a daily schedule including tasks for school, break, and personal tasks. Along with a reward system, our body needs time to recoup by partaking in an activity that raises its endorphins. Be sure to schedule in time for personal goals, including physical activities, meditation, or even video games.

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