With the recent spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), many schools have been forced to make the decision to switch to e-learning. For many, this is uncharted territory. Teachers and students are stressed and nervous because they don’t know what to expect or even do, since they had no time to prepare for this. But, as a person who chose to do online school her last three years of high school and is now taking online classes in college, I’m here to offer some tips and assure you that you can do it.
I know the easiest thing to do in a time of unknown is to stress and worry. And that’s the response many have taken towards having to learn online. However, let me be the first to tell you that online school is not as hard as you think. Yes, it’s a big, unwanted change, but you will quickly settle in. It may take time to get a hang of the program you’re using, but you will figure it out! Take a deep breath and relax.
When it comes to online school, you have to be responsible! This is not something that you can mess around with or take lightly. I know it may seem fun because you get to be at home in your pajamas while you learn, but you have to take it seriously. It’s easy to get into the mindset that if you miss an assignment or lecture that it’s really not a big deal. However, if you view this time as a vacation or a joke, you need to remember that your grades, completion of a grade level, graduation, and even college acceptance are at stake here. You need to treat online school as if you were still sitting in your classroom. It’s very easy to procrastinate; and it’s very easy to lose your sense of personal accountability for your performance in the classroom.
Make a Schedule
To be a successful online student, it’s important that you’re getting your work done on time and attending your live lectures. The easiest way to keep everything organized is to grab a planner. When your teachers list the expectations for the week, you need to write down all of your due dates, reading assignments, activities, and live lectures. It’s always best to plan ahead so that you won’t accidentally miss anything. Putting reminders in your phone so that you will receive a notification may even be a good option. It’s also really helpful to find a time of day that you know you tend to focus and work best. For me, I was always able to get work done more effectively in the afternoon. I would have the morning to lounge around, go on a hike, or do whatever, but I knew that around 2:00 or 3:00 I needed to work on school.
Find a Place to Work
This is where the fun part kicks in for online students. You get to choose where you want to do your work! I recommend picking a place that is quiet and free of distractions. It will help you get your work done faster if you’re not being interrupted or distracted. For me, that means outside. In the warmer months, I gather up all of my materials and go outside with my dog. She usually walks around while I sit in a beach chair and finish my work. In the winter, I have a room in my house that is relatively quiet, and I sit in there in the floor or on the couch until everything is finished for the day. It’s important to find a place that works well for you.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute
Honestly, this is something I’m still learning. With doing school online, it is so easy to procrastinate. You view the work as not as big of a deal, because you don’t feel the pressure that you would in a normal school setting. You find other things to be more important like watching tv or playing on your phone, so you think, “oh, I’ll just do it later.” Believe me, you don’t want to “just do it later”. Rushing to get stuff done is not fun. It makes life 10x more stressful. If something is due by 11:59pm, don’t wait until 11:00pm to do it. What you want to do is get stuff done early. You will feel so much better and realize that you have more time to do those things you want to do instead if your work is already done.
Contact Your Teacher
This is really important for online students! Since you aren’t in class and can’t raise your hand when you have a question, you need to contact your teacher. Most likely, they will tell you the best way to get in touch with them. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them if you have a question or need clarification. Even if it’s something small like, “am I doing this right?”. You will always be better safe than sorry! I’m sure your teacher would be impressed by you taking the initiative to contact them. It shows that you care and really want to do good.
I know that online school is a big change for you, but you can do it. I absolutely loved the freedom it gave me in high school and now still gives me in college. It’s an adjustment, especially when you had no choice in the matter. However, I think many may realize it’s something that they actually like.