Ask Angel – The Final Online Stretch

Online learning is way harder for me than in person, I can’t focus on school at home and miss all the important information. It makes me feel way dumber. Summatives might be happening online and I need advice on how to fix this before I drop the ball hard in the final stretch. How do you adapt to online learning? Is it a different mindset or just that I need to change the desk I sit at? There’s 24 tabs open at once and I don’t know where the music’s coming from.

– Pro Procrastinator

Dear Pro Procrastinator,

Hey there, thanks for reaching out! I totally understand how you feel and what you’re going through. First off, you’re not alone. Other people are going through the same things as you and can’t focus properly during online classes as well. This doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it just means that you do things differently in an environment that is actually made for learning, which is understandable. It’s not easy and will take time, but you can definitely improve your study habits by setting time limits, recording meets, and/or by changing your location, as you said.

To start, setting reminders on your phone could help keep you in check. You can set alarms for every thirty minutes (or as long as you’d like, assuming it’s over thirty) and try to spend that time paying attention to the lesson. After the time’s up, grab a glass of water to stretch your legs. This will keep you moving so that you won’t be stuck in the same place for two and a half hours, tiring yourself out. Another thing you can do to keep concentrated is print out all your work or take notes to help follow along with the lesson. Set restrictions that prevent you from opening certain websites or apps like Netflix for example, so that you won’t be able to distract yourself with extracurricular activities. Another thing I found that helps me is making a list of tasks that I have to do, in order of what’s due sooner or what’s easiest to do. If I have more time I’ll do my work in order of easiest to hardest, if not, I prioritize what’s due sooner. 

Furthermore, recording meets/zooms is a pretty useful thing that you can do. You can always record it yourself or you can ask your teacher to record the Meet. Once you do this, you’ll always have a copy of the lesson that you can come back to in the future if you’re missing some information or if you don’t remember what you were taught. If you’re unable to record the lessons, don’t be afraid to email your teachers or friends for anything you may have had trouble understanding. If they can’t provide you with answers either, ask your teachers if they can provide you with extra help. Their job is to make sure you learn, whether it’s during lunch or after school. If you still can’t figure it out, it never hurts to go over all your notes again and watch some of the hundreds of informative videos on YouTube. If you find you need help with things that the class has already moved on from but which is still necessary for summatives, you can ask your teacher out of class, in class try to focus on current work first since you might not catch that if you’re working on old work instead.

Finally, a change in location could also be of great benefit. It could be that you don’t learn properly wherever you’re currently seated, meaning changing the desk you sit at could show definite improvements. Leave your phone and other distractions in another room, all you really need is your school supplies and a couple of snacks. A mostly quiet room promotes a positive environment for learning because you won’t have anything that will take your attention away from the task(s) at hand. A change in mindset would also be beneficial, as thinking something negative won’t result in things getting better since that’s what you believe your end result will be. A way you can change that would be setting goals for yourself; work on that list that I suggested making earlier, and check off each of those bullet points when you finish. I find that reward systems work for some people and if they don’t work for you, that’s totally fine and you shouldn’t stress out about it too much.

I understand how difficult online learning can be, I truly hope that things turn around for you and that you’ll be prepared for the summatives. Of course there are more tips – a few things to assist you would be setting reminders on your phone and keeping your work organized, try recording your lessons and make sure you ask about whatever you don’t understand in class, whether it’s new or old work, and in the end, changing your study area as well as changing your mindset to think more positively and to be in a space that’s made for learning like school is. It’s fine if these things don’t work out for you but make sure you do some research to find out what does, so that you can change your study habits for the better!




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