We have officially entered a new year and have waved a long, heartfelt good-bye to the rollercoaster that was 2020. The second half of the school year is difficult enough, starting off during the winter months and entering the season of final exams and finalizing applications for fall admission to college.
So, while 2020 is in the past, 2021 brings with it some final challenges thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many districts across the country remain closed for in-person instruction and learning from home isn’t for everyone. At first, being able to stay in sweatpants for Zoom classes and complete work at any time of day may have seemed like a good thing, but as time goes on, the momentum that fueled those early, new days of learning is coming to a screeching halt for many.
Although it’s hard, staying motivated is incredibly important to reaching success for this 2020-2021 school year. It’s time to get creative and do some mental and physical analyses. What is working and not working? How can you make a few changes to your daily routine that will allow you to increase motivation and productivity?
Here are a few simple ways you can give your learning-from-home experience a kick start:
Remember that this situation is temporary. There is hope in the vaccines and, as more and more individuals become vaccinated, we become more hopeful that soon, you’ll be back in the classroom for in-person instruction, working on group projects and getting the one-on-one help you need to succeed.
Take a look at the space around you. If you have resorted to learning from the comfort of your bed or couch, that could be creating a pretty difficult situation for learning. Find a space that is organized and free of clutter that requires you to sit up straight in front of your learning device. As an added bonus, take a look at our weekly post from last week that offers a few ways you can update your mental health with a few simple changes to your surroundings. Check it out here: https://leapfoundationdc.org/using-your-space-to-refresh-your-mind/
Follow a regular routine. Make sure you’re going to bed and setting the alarm for the same time each night and day. Doing so doesn’t just mean you’ll be well-rested. It also signals to your brain that it’s time to learn and you’ll be more productive during the working hours.
It can be so easy to become disconnected from others when we’re confined to our homes and no longer physically interacting with others. Social interaction is incredibly important for school-aged individuals, so it’s important to stay connected. We’re not talking about SnapChat and Instagram. We mean “getting together” with others through Zoom calls, virtual study groups or group Facetimes to discuss goals, ambitions and difficulties with class assignments, as well as timelines for things like college applications, finals and graduation. Keeping communication open with peers can be a great way to work through difficult situations.
Take some time to consider whether any of your current difficulties are caused by things that can be corrected. How is your internet connectivity? Do you have the equipment that is necessary to complete your work, such as a laptop or iPad, printer, headphones or even traditional school supplies? Identify anything that you may need to make your daily classes more successful and then work toward finding solutions. Contact the school as a starting point. Discuss your needs with a counselor, teacher or district administrator. Schools are working hard to ensure that resources are available for every student and where they can’t help, they may be able to point you in the right direction. Consider contacting your internet provider. Many businesses are offering discounts and even free internet to households with students learning from home.