Whether you are attending school or learning at home, we can all agree that things will be different. Due to the current crisis of COVID-19, the unknown has arrived. Even if you are attending school in person, it is always important to set boundaries at home and at school (this is easier said than done!) I am going to provide some tips for creating a distant learning workspace at home.
Tip #1: Have the right mindset
Yeah, this all certainly does suck–the fact that we are having to redesign our entire lives is fair to no one. BUT we have to, and that is something that we need to accept. What I’m trying to say is if you want to do well this school year, you need to accept reality.
Having a negative mindset sets people back in all cases. I am not naturally a positive person, so I have to remind myself to keep my head up sometimes. If you are the same, there are many ways you can incorporate positivity into your daily routine. Personally, I have an app on my phone that will notify me with positive quotes. I also do yoga a few days a week just to keep both my mind and body happy. You could write positive thoughts on sticky notes around your room or even put them on your laptop to have while you’re working. Figure out what brightens your mood, and surround yourself with whatever it is.
Tip #2: Figure out a place other than your bedroom to work (if you have the means)
Because I am going into my junior year, I have tried to prepare as much as I can for the upcoming school year. Everyone knows that junior year is definitely a challenge. So, I have made sure to find a place in my home where I can work every week day and feel good doing it. I am lucky enough that my house has a spare bedroom for guests. I have set up a desk area in that room to work, and I find myself excited to work in that area.
If you don’t have a spare guest room in your house or even a desk to set up all of your things, find a place in your house that might work. A simple counter in the kitchen, a seat at the dining room table, a basement space, a back porch–any of these places can work just as well. It doesn’t need to be pretty, it just needs to be practical enough.
And yes, a last resort is your bedroom. But if anything, don’t do work on your bed. I figured this out when we had to do online learning at the end of the last year. A bed is meant for sleep, and if you are working on your bed, your mind will never fall asleep. If you have to work in your bedroom, you could put some pillows and blankets in a corner along with a lap desk so you have space to work. Be creative, find what fits your learning style and listen to it.
Tip #3: Get supplies just like any other school year
Personally, I try to keep my supplies from the year before if I can, so I haven’t had to do any supply shopping. However, if you find you need a few binders or notebooks, shop for them like you have in years past. If you want that feel-good experience of back to school shopping, indulge on it! Go to the stores you usually shop at (with a mask of course) and pick out what you like. If anything, this year would be the year to find what you really like. Get supplies that fit your aesthetic and that you enjoy looking at.
If you have online school, don’t just store everything on your computer. Be sure to have tangible work. If you can’t print things out, maybe look at the assignment on your laptop and answer questions on a sheet of paper. Do what works for you! Maybe if you treat this year like years prior, you will have an easier time accepting distant learning.
Tip #4: Make time for your friends
Because many of us won’t be in school, we will miss out on interacting with our friends face-t0-face. Even if you can’t talk to them during classes, call your friends after school and catch up with them. Find some free time to schedule a socially distanced hang out session. Maybe even host a group FaceTime for your lunch table friends and eat lunch together each day. If your school isn’t hosting dances, have a virtual dance party with your friends. If your school is offering online clubs, join as many as you can! Brainstorm with your friends to find something fun to do each week. I have been going over to my friends house and we have been sitting in her driveway and chatting six feet apart. There are many ways to find time to be with your friends, you just have to be creative.
YOU CAN DO THIS!
You absolutely can get through this year! You’re definitely not alone, so remind yourself each day that there are others going through the same things. If you have a lull where you just don’t feel motivated, take a break! Read a book, play a video game, watch a show that you know puts you in a better mood. You are only human, and you will definitely have ups and downs. Hopefully these tips will help you prepare for distant learning this year.