Accidentally muted microphones on Zoom, background speaker echoes on Google Meets, constant pings in your email from Google Classroom — does this sound familiar?
School today during the 2020-2021 academic year is nothing like anyone could have predicted. Remote learning has become a mainstay of our education system across the country and the world, and with COVID-19 numbers once again on the rise in New York City and the United States as a whole, a full reopening of our nation’s school systems is currently out of the question. At this point in time, knowing when exactly students will be returning to in-person schooling is impossible. But we have learned to coexist, and our communities have coped— we are #NewYorkTough.
For many students, both at Bronx Science and across the world, remote learning has proved to be more difficult than in-person learning because of the increased need for self-reliance. One of the best ways to stay on track is by keeping good habits and a regular routine; the 95% of Bronx Science students who have chosen fully remote learning have shared their own ways of sticking to a routine in order to stay productive, during this difficult time of the Coronavirus pandemic. If you need some inspiration, please take solace from your classmates’ comments. We are all in this together!
Some students use tools like planners in order to stay organized. Anna Vikatos ’22 said, “I have a planner which tells me what work I need to do, and I usually organize my time by doing the homework that I can finish quickly first and then doing longer homework assignments at the end.” She adds, “It would be best to do your work as soon as you get it, instead of waiting until the last minute.”
Jessica Muller ’21 employs similar habits of organization in order to remain productive. She said, “I keep a color-coded version of my school schedule on the wall where I do my homework, in order to remember when I have which classes and to add some colorful decorations to my workspace.” She has a ‘bell schedule’ on her phone so that she can avoid missing classes, also. As for staying productive, she concluded that one of the key elements is to “just start somewhere… Each assignment that you get done contributes to the end goal of completing the work, so just start. Do one assignment, check it off the list, and move on. You get a lot more done if you move one step at a time.”
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Muller did not get to experience the senior year that she had hoped for at Bronx Science. “It’s difficult to cope with the fact that your whole life has changed, including your expectations for this 2020-2021mschool year,” Muller said. Good habits have helped her to feel more positive about this school year. “Keeping a schedule allows me to remain focused and provides me with something to do.”
However, it is important to remember that different things work for different people. For example, Sarang West ’21 strays from a strict routine, opting for a simpler approach towards time management. “As long as I get my homework in before the deadline and I have at least a half-hour to work out, a routine isn’t a big issue,” she said. Similarly, Ellington Fagan ’22 doesn’t write down a routine: “I just do what I feel like, and it happens to be the same every day.” Alexandra Zweibel ’22 implements consistent habits, but a full-fledged routine is not what she has found to be the most effective in terms of keeping her grounded and focused. Instead, she writes down her homework with due dates and check boxes in order to stay organized. “It gives me a sense of structure and normally for a school day that doesn’t have that, which helps my mental health,” Zweibel said.
Methods beyond establishing a routine can also contribute towards enhanced productivity. Some are mental health practices, like practicing mindfulness. West ’21 utilizes mental motivation, while Fagan ’22 gets through his day with his very own “power playlist”; “it’s 9 hours and 22 minutes long, and I have varying moods & genres spanning from the morning all the way to bed,” Fagan said.
Others maintain consistent habits in order to help them keep a professional school mindset, like “keeping a clean workspace, drinking lots of water, and not procrastinating as much,” said Zwiebel.
If these tips seem too ambitious, then try to look at your work from a different perspective. “I always want to sleep, so the faster that I work, the faster that I can get to sleep,” said Dylan Marshall ’22. Looking forward to a power nap, an episode of your favorite Netflix show, or a quick snack, can prove to be most effective. Keep it simple! If all else fails, “buy a motivational cat poster,” advises Marshall.
Whether or not remote learning is enhancing your learning experience or proving to be one of the more difficult things that you have ever had to deal with, it is undeniably valuable to keep some tips in your back pocket. And if you are clueless as to where to start, try some of the habits that help other students. In a volatile environment like ours during the Coronavirus pandemic, small changes can make the biggest impact.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Jessica Muller ’21 did not get to experience the senior year that she had hoped for at Bronx Science. “It’s difficult to cope with the fact that your whole life has changed, including your expectations for this 2020-2021 school year,” Muller said. Good habits have helped her to feel more positive about this school year. “Keeping a schedule allows me to remain focused and provides me with something to do.”