Starting the school year off with remote learning was something that people would have never expected a few months back. As much as students would like to get back into the classroom, the school committee ultimately decided that it’s best to wait until Oct. 19 to transition to a hybrid model.
With learning at home being so different than in school, staying motivated has been a challenge for many students. However, students have done their best to accommodate this new change, some coming up with productive routines to make the most out of their new learning experience.
“I wake up around 7:30 a.m. every day,” freshman Lilly O’Driscoll said. “I wake up almost a full hour early because I like to make sure I’m fully awake before I start class, and I like to give myself time to set up my work station. That might be getting a glass of ice water to have near my desk or maybe some fruit to hold me over before my first break of the day.”
Being at home, there are many distractions that could drag students away from their tasks at hand. Through this past first week, students figured out what worked best to keep up with school and focus during their classes.
“Once I sit at my desk and start school at 8:35 a.m., I have the urge to make sure all of my homework is done before I leave my desk after all my classes,” sophomore Samantha Tyska said.
One positive that has come out of remote learning is that students have the freedom to spend their break doing what they would like. Two 15-minute screen breaks have been set up during the day to give students the time to step away from their screens and get some fresh air.
“I’ll either play soccer with friends, try to get better at lacrosse, or play some basketball in my driveway,” junior Ben Chen said. “Playing sports helps me stay positive about school and helps balance out the amount of sitting and staring at screens we do.”
One of the most important part of in-school learning is the relationships that students make with their teachers, which have been harder to create since everything is online. To cope with this obstacle, students have been going to office hours available on Wednesdays, and reaching out to teachers during the day.
“I try to send emails and ask questions to teachers in advance of future classes, so that I stay on top of things,” Tyska said.
Trying to get ahead of work is a great way to get your teachers’ approval, especially while online. The transition from middle to high school can be quite nerve wracking for many incoming freshmen. The circumstances WHS is in now certainly doesn’t make that transition any easier.
“My transition [to the high school] has been somewhat smooth and very welcoming,” O’Driscoll said. “I can’t say much about the difference in work because it has only been a week, but I will say I already feel like this school year, despite our circumstances, will be a fun and exciting year.”
Although the screen breaks are only 15-minutes long, it is vital for students to get the break they need from the screens and focus on something else. Taking a snack break, hydrating and staying off other screens are great ways to spend the time.
“During the first break, my mom usually starts something for me like putting a bagel in the toaster or scrambling eggs, so I know I can spend the 15-minutes the best I can,” O’Driscoll said. “After my second block class, I start to feel a bit tired again and my motivation starts to drain, but I have lunch right after to regenerate myself.”
For students, managing their time in a remote environment is key to their success in school. Being at home makes it very easy to get distracted by other activities. Therefore, prioritizing homework and getting it done during the day is essential.
“Sometimes, I try to get my homework done during the 15-minute screen breaks between classes,” Tyska said. “I like to get my work done ASAP so that once I finish school, I feel free to do whatever I like.”
Everyone at WHS is going through the same situation and learning about the remote experience as each day goes on. Trying your best to get the high school’s dynamic online is much more challenging, but it will help prepare yourself for the rest of the upcoming year.
“Once you get used to the schedule and comfortable with your classes, everything just feels a little bit easier,” Tyska said.
Many students have had a very positive mindset about these new circumstances and realized that to get back to actual school, they need to get through remote learning first. Working your hardest in each class and making the most out of what you have is necessary to stay motivated.
“Working at home doesn’t really mess with my studies too much,” Chen said. “Obviously, there are a lot more distractions around my house than at school, but it’s pretty nice to have the structure of school back in my day-to-day.”