With school remaining virtual for the rest of the fall semester, students are finding themselves doing schoolwork in the comfort of their beds, their desks or essentially any place they can find around the house. Looking into some students’ new learning environments reveals how they can successfully stay on top of this new learning style while combating the distractions that come with being at home.
Senior Erin Roddy attends online school from the desk in her bedroom. One difficulty she has encountered during distance learning is the lack of strong connections with her friends.
“It’s a bummer to not be able to talk to friends about what classes you are in because it doesn’t really matter who is in my classes if we aren’t in person,” Roddy said.
Another downside Roddy found is that her phone is always accessible, which was not necessarily true during in-person school.
“I know I need to put my phone in a different room so I’m not as distracted, but it’s always just right next to me during class,” Roddy said.
Despite the downfalls of the current circumstances, Roddy sees the advantages too, such as her schoolwork being in all one place leading her to feel more productive.
“I like being able to do my homework at my desk. I don’t have [any] commute time,” Roddy said. “I can just do school all day and then finish my homework right away [at my desk] rather than saving it for later that night.”
Similar to Roddy, junior Nick Scott takes his classes from the desk space in his bedroom. Scott explained that he keeps his homework organizer next to him throughout the day to ensure he does not miss any assignments. He also still uses his backpack to store his binders for each class so everything is together. In Scott’s opinion, being at home has actually made him more organized than in-person school.
“When [I’m] at school and the bell rings, usually I’m in a rush. In order to get the homework written down, I had to get my planner from my backpack, write it down frantically and put everything I used for that class back into my backpack so I wouldn’t be late for my next class,” Scott said. “Now that we have ten minutes in between each class, I can actually use [the time] to prepare for my next class [and] have everything written down.”
However, the benefit of being more organized and feeling less rushed at home does not necessarily outweigh the negative of lost social interaction for Scott.
“Not being able to see my friends in class or in the hallways is something that I miss for sure. Instead, we’re just seeing each other through a screen which obviously isn’t the same,” Scott said.
Sophomore Annika Danne also uses the desk in her bedroom as her online school workspace. She has a large desk that easily fits all of her work onto it without an issue. Danne has also utilized her desk as a way to stay more organized by storing her binders and textbooks underneath it, along with labeled papers. She has found that her desk has made school at home more bearable because it keeps her out of bed.
“The fact that I have somewhere to do my online school and not [have to do it] in my bed is helpful because I feel like if I was in my bed, I would feel less motivated. [Since] I have a desk, I actually do my schoolwork,” Danne said.
Unlike Danne, Taylor Huerta, a freshman, completes her school work on her bed.
“I do all my Zooms in my room sitting on my bed, and then after the Zooms when school’s over, I go downstairs to my dining room. I do all my homework down there just so I’m not in the same place all day,” Huerta said.
Though she would not consider herself an organized student, Huerta has figured out a way to combat her disorderly habits by writing down all of her assignments for the week on a whiteboard and crossing them off once she is done to ensure she has completed all her assignments.
When zooming in on different student’s workspaces, it becomes evident that online school certainly has its strengths and weaknesses.
“It’s nice that I get to wake up right before school starts and I can stay organized in my room instead of at school, but in the end, it just isn’t the same because I can’t see my friends and it is definitely not the same high school experience I thought I would have,” Roddy said.