Whilst we are not attending school, it’s still important that a routine is maintained when we are studying from home. I wake up around the same time as what I would on a usual school day, unless I stayed up late finishing extra work, where I give myself a little extra rest to ensure I can remain focused throughout the day. Preparation is usually quite similar, with all the essential activities like eating and showering. I make sure to get some exercise in the morning before class starts so I am not restless whilst sitting at my desk most of the day. The lesson plans for the day are on Simon or OneNote before the school day starts, so I read them before commencing classes. This means that I can just start working if I understand the task, or I can ask questions early so that I have the most amount of time to finish my work before the periods end. The school day runs like it normally would, except that I eat and exercise for 15 minutes during both the recess and lunch breaks before spending the rest of the time catching up on work. Usually, when the school day ends at 3:15pm, I’ll do one subject of homework before I have a break, as my mind is still active and I can efficiently burn through tasks. After this, I relax for different periods of time depending on how much homework is left over.
My advice for you and all students in this new environment is to always keep the learning environment dynamic. I’d also recommend working in short bursts, as I find I’m most effective in 10-minute timeslots before having a minute break and resuming. The most beneficial aspect of working online is that my desk is easily accessible in the mornings. Learning content is much easier to access, and I can plan ahead with most of my subjects to reduce stress. Teachers are also adapting extremely well to the new learning environment, enabling us to learn effectively given the current circumstances. I never have to worry about my laptop running out of battery and I always have access to the internet when I need to solidify theories and concepts that I am struggling with.
However, the new learning environment also comes with challenges. I am doing three science subjects this year, and missing out on a lot of practical work has been relatively restricting, as it is something that I enjoy doing and it assists me in understanding content. It’s difficult sitting at the same desk for an extended period of time doing work before it becomes mundane. Also, with everyone at home and on the internet, connection interruptions are essentially inevitable, and can interfere with lessons at times and disrupt video calls with teachers. However, these are all variables that I have to endure, and are preferable over learning in a potentially compromised health environment at school.
One of my main passions outside of school is music, and I have been playing guitar for 4 years now. Thankfully, they have been able to keep private lessons running through the COVID-19 restrictions so I am able to get out of the house and do something I enjoy. I also keep in constant contact with most of my friends, so I am not completely alienating myself from everyone. This provides some solace and emotional release, as it is difficult to remain joyful and personable with the current restrictions. I also make sure I spend time with my family and I have a cat who I search for during any breaks that I take to get exercise and to reduce the sense of loneliness that arises from the social restrictions. I also try to do some calisthenic exercises where I can because they do not require much equipment and can keep my muscle groups active. These are all things I’d recommend for students, particularly keeping in contact and maintaining fitness, because they will improve your enthusiasm and alleviate boredom.
Despite all the restrictions that are currently imposed on all of us, we have to be appreciative and thankful for the support network that we all have. All the teachers at Salesian are here (or at home) purely for your education, and this situation gives you a new medium to express concerns and seek help in your learning. It’s also a chance to reflect on your learning habits, and attempt new methods of retaining and understanding content so that you are well prepared when we all eventually get back to school.
I hope you are all pulling through in this testing time, and that we all get to meet up back at school soon!