While the thought of online school seemed amazing at first, I quickly realized that I was going to struggle with staying home and dealing with my grief and lack of motivation.
Like many students, I was excited when I learned that my schooling would be online. Yay! I thought. I really need a break from my stressful school life!
Online school has proven to be a lot less stressful than in-person schooling was. But, it's come with a lot more complications than I expected at first.
The first few days of online school, I was doing well. I was finally able to work on some hobbies than I had given up, had much less homework, and was generally doing a lot of good things with my life. But, as the days went on, I slowly became less and less motivated. Being home 24/7 sounds nice, but it sucks with grief. I found myself missing my dad a lot more than I had in the past few weeks, saw my productivity go down, and I eventually went from spending all of my days getting work done to spending them on YouTube, between completing assignments.
This went on for a few weeks, and I slowly became more and more upset with myself. For the longest time, I had put off working on projects, hobbies, and other things that I enjoyed because I didn't have enough time. Just a month before, I would've given almost anything even to have one extra day off of school. Yet, when I finally had lots of time due to quarantine, I was doing nothing with it.
Since then, I've worked harder on becoming more productive and doing something with each day. But, it's still hard to get motivation every day. It's hard for me to accept that I, like most people, am not at my best, but that is okay. Right now is a really weird time in the world, and if you don't have the motivation to make every day productive, that's completely fine. It's okay to take some days off and prioritize yourself.
So, when you want to get motivated, how do you do it? I put together a list of tips for staying on top of your school work while quarantined and grieving.
1. Don't procrastinate on your work. Going with the mindset "Oh, I can do this later!" all the time does not work well for online school. This is especially true due to the stress of the coronavirus triggering lots of emotions from people, including bringing up old grief. There will be times that you feel like you cannot do any work, and if you don't procrastinate, you can most likely take a break during these times and not have to worry about an assignment due in a few hours.
2. Create a schedule. On my last day of in person school, one of my teachers suggested that we complete our school work like our schedule: doing first period's work first, second period's second, etc. This would help us stay in a normal routine, and be sure to get all of our work done. I actually do not do this, and instead have found a different order for classwork that is the easiest for me and helps create my best work.
3. Stay social! Just because you aren't in school all day doesn't mean that you can't talk to your friends. In fact, completing school work with your friends is a great way to stay in touch and motivated, if you don't distract each other. My friends and I FaceTime weekly to work on our assignments, and by discussing what we are learning and working together on hard problems, we are able to learn more and get our work done faster.
4. Take breaks. I've found that working through all of my work in one sitting isn't effective. About two hours in I get bored, distracted, and want to do something else. So, take breaks! It's okay if you can't focus during all of your normal school hours, and you shouldn't feel like you have to. Personally, I create goals for myself, such as completing an assignment, and after I complete these goals I take a break.
If you have a hard time getting back to work after your break, I recommend using timers. For example, if you just worked for an hour, set a 20 minute timer for a break. Be sure to stop your break as soon as the timer goes off, and don't just turn it off and keep taking the break, as that'll create bad habits. If you stop your breaks as soon as the timer goes off, you'll be more productive every day.
5. Check your grades. Not going into school every day makes it easier for me to forget that I'm actually still in school. A good way that I remember this is by checking my grades. When I see that my assignments I am completing at home count towards my class grade, it helps me remember to do well on my assignments, and gives me motivation.
The coronavirus, quarantine, and online school are all a lot to deal with, but we can get through this. It's okay if every day isn't your best, and you shouldn't expect every day to be, but hopefully these 5 tips will help you stay on top of online school work.
This article was written by Natalie Adams, the creator of Teenage Grief Sucks. Photo by Nick Morrison.