School Days during Social Distancing:...

School Days during Social Distancing: No Pressure!

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By Maryam Sheikh

The spread of COVID-19 has resulted in unsettling times. With a lot of changes to our social lives, work, and school life, it can be confusing to navigate. Many students have shifted to distance learning which requires habit changes and schedule shifts.

In this article, I will outline some tips to help you stay focused and productive during this time.

When social distancing first began, I struggled with keeping a good sleep schedule. Suddenly given unlimited hours to sleep in, I went to bed later and woke up later as a result. I quickly realized that this was unsustainable and definitely felt like I could make more out of the days when I woke up earlier.

My advice for organizing school days is keeping them balanced. I advise waking up around the same time you usually would on a school day and finishing schoolwork early so that you can enjoy the rest of the day. If you have parents or other family members working or studying from home, you can plan to wake up at the same time and eat a healthy breakfast together. This way, you have a source of motivation and can be held accountable for your habits.

After a good meal, check the schoolwork you have been assigned for the day. Make a quick goal list of tasks you want to accomplish, and put it up in your workspace. If it is possible, find a quiet area in your home to work and limit distractions. This can mean turning your device off to avoid checking notifications or falling off track because of games.

Online learning requires you to be more independent than usual, so if you are struggling to grasp concepts or complete work, be sure to contact your teachers for clarification and support. Use the support networks you have available such as family, friends, and classmates. I also find it helpful to watch videos to help my understanding of topics. Khan Academy is a great free resource to use- it has videos, discussion forums, and practice problems to complete.

In between completing assignments and learning new material, be sure to take breaks to allow yourself to process the information. Fit in some daily exercise, pause to hop on a phone call with a friend, or give yourself half an hour to read a book.

Overall, while these times have resulted in many changes, they are also an opportunity to build good work habits in preparation for the rest of high school or post-secondary education. In university and college, you generally only have a few classes a day and are left with a lot of time to get your assignments done while balancing work, extra-curricular activities, sports, and other commitments. Try to take advantage of the extra time to build self-discipline and focus!

While following a schedule is important in maintaining good habits, it is also extremely important to keep physical and mental health in mind. These times are confusing and challenging for everyone, so be sure to talk about your emotions and feelings with people you trust. Remember, we are in this together!

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