Students share tips on adapting to virtual learning


Photos provided by Contessa Ferreras

Junior Contessa Ferreras writes notes into a planner essential to keeping her motivated and focused while remotely learning.

Salma Abuzaher, Reporter

On a typical day, sophomore Cassie Wills sets a 25-minute timer to finish assignments. She takes five-minute breaks and repeats the process. This helps her stay on top of her work.

During virtual learning last spring, Wills learned that she needed two things to help her stay on task: the app “Focus Keeper”, to set reminders and improve her time management, and group chats with friends, essential to helping one another complete school work.

Now she applies these tips she learned to avoid distractions and focus on schoolwork to continue navigating online learning. 

Wills said her biggest struggle last year was getting easily distracted.

“This year, my friends and I keep each other accountable for completing our work on time, and I also have a work timer app to keep myself focused,” Wills said.

Spacing assignments out over days has also helped Wills manage her time better.

“My time management skills have improved greatly from last year to now,” Wills said. “Last year I always convinced myself that projects would be super painful and take a long time to complete so I waited until the last minute to do them, but that just made them hurt way more. This year I’ve learned from my mistake and do a little bit of the assignment each day.”

 Wills also implemented another study habit into her routine that has proved effective.

“I started listening to relaxing music while doing my homework, and it’s really helped me focus,” Wills said. “I also take frequent, short breaks from my work instead of a few very long breaks.” 

What started out as a two-week break from in-person learning has become the only option for the first six weeks of this school year. Students such as junior Contessa Ferreras have had no option but to find the motivation to continue learning remotely. 

“Last year, I was really unmotivated since I got tired of online learning,” Ferreras said.I’ve managed to learn how to organize and be motivated. What kept me motivated to do my work last year was my grades. It’s the same plan for this year.” 

Ferreras found that organization is a big factor in learning successfully online. 

“This habit really impacted me because teachers would always give out a lot of work, and sometimes I would lose track of the assignments,” Ferreras said. “So far, I’m on track.”

For students like senior Elijah Lawrence, motivation comes from a place of belief. “Honestly what kept me motivated is God,” Lawrence said. “Being connected to God and being able to expose my faith to those around me kept me motivated during this time of transition.”

Through that same motivation that kept him vigorous in his work, he improved his academic skills this year due to learning from mistakes he experienced last year. 

“Joining Microsoft teams for class was not mandatory and I remember days where I would not wake up and stay asleep because I didn’t want to join the class,” Lawerence said. “I would work at my own pace and complete assignments when I wanted and how I wanted.”

This year, Lawrence implemented essential habits and tips that increased his productivity. 

“Waking up at a set time every day and eating a good breakfast before school,” Lawrence said. “Apply yourself in every class. Never waiting a day later to turn in or complete assignments.”