Staying motivated during second semester is a struggle, regardless of external circumstance; however, the task is only tougher now that all students are required to complete their assignments in the comfort of their own homes. It is difficult to resist temptation, especially when your uncomfortable school desk is replaced with your cozy bed, but it’s not impossible. Junior Sophia Denison has established a routine to help her stay on track.
“I usually start with breakfast and a morning workout before I log on to do my E-Learning,” Denison said. “I never get to workout in the morning on a normal school day since school starts super early, but now I’m able to create my own schedule and can start my learning later in the day.”
Location is an important factor in determining future productivity. A space littered with distractions can make it harder to focus on the tasks at hand. Similarly, an area that is devoid of any amusement can be disheartening. Denison combats this by creating a productive, but pleasant, work environment for herself.
“I work at my desk most days, but if it’s particularly nice out, I try to work outside or near a place where I can crack a window,” Denison said.
To stay engaged and motivated during the process, Denison designs her own calendars and contacts her teachers with questions and comments about the lessons, and also general information she finds interesting.
“Like I did when I was in school, I make sure to make a weekly calendar with each day that I have to do for each class and set due dates for myself,” Denison said. “I also made a huge list of things to do after I get my work done and I try to pick one of those activities at the beginning of the day to look forward to doing after I get my work done, which really helps me stay motivated. I also have been emailing a few of my teachers with questions and comments about their lessons and even chatting about books and movies they would recommend.”
Although E-Learning poses many challenges to students, such as decreased interaction with students and teachers and limited face-to-face interaction to ask questions and receive help, there are some benefits that come with the system. Students have the flexibility to create a schedule that works with their own needs and learn at their own pace. Also, the block schedule allows students to focus on around half of their classes at a time, a perk that Denison enjoys.
“I like the block schedule a lot because it allows me to really hone in on 3-4 subjects per day instead of having to switch between 8 different subjects every hour,” Denison said. “I like how the process of learning is more emphasized with distance learning, not necessarily getting the problems 100-percent correct. In order to get a grade now, you must go through the process of learning it and completing your assignments instead of trying to memorize formulas for a traditional test format.”
Junior Colleen Carroll also finds positive elements within distance learning, particularly in her Honors Pre-Calculus class. As many classes have already had a digital element in their instruction, there is a smoother transition from in-person to e-learning.
“I felt like math has gone really well for me with the new system because, at least for my class, we do all our notes and homework on Notability already, so that isn’t too different,” Carroll said. “My teacher has made it really easy to ask questions either via email or virtual office hours on class days.”
The general layout of distance learning also has some advantages, such as being able to easily review video lectures to pick up information. Denison also finds that the homework assignments are closely related with the lectures teacher’s give.
“I like the classes where there is a video lecture and then homework or an assignment to complete. The video lectures are nice since it’s pretty close to an in-class experience and you can pause the notes if you have to catch up,” Denison said.
In order to stay motivated, Carroll writes down her daily tasks to gain a sense of accomplishment after she has completed them and gives herself time between classes to lessen any stress.
“I recommend making a checklist of assignments each day. I feel accomplished when I see myself making progress,” Carroll said. “Also, I try to break up my classes and between each one, give myself a short break. Breaking up your schedule into manageable pieces makes work a lot less stressful because you have time in between to take a break and return to your work refreshed afterward.”