A guide to dealing with a new learning system


Julia Cameron

Online Learning is tough for many students. Luckily, there are helpful tips to make it more enjoyable.

After the first few months of distance learning, we all know the struggles that come with learning via a computer screen. As the year goes on, many people have found themselves struggling more and more with this style of learning, so I hope this article can further help you in adjusting to these new circumstances. 


Both students and teachers can agree that sitting at a computer all day isn’t ideal. As many of us know, it can lead to headaches, bad posture, and strained eyes. And right now, in combination with the smoke from the California wildfires, it is even harder for students to go outside and get exercise or just get some fresh air. 


Classes and teachers vary for each student, which means that their workload also varies. While some people spend an hour on homework each night, others may be working much more than that. But something we should all focus on is building good study habits. With advice from students, teachers, and counselors, here are some strategies to help you cope with online learning.


  • Find a way to keep track of your assignments: While some people prefer to use a school planner, keeping track of assignments and due dates on a post-it note or a piece of paper is also an effective way of staying organized.


  • Set a time for studying: When you spread out your assignments throughout the day, you are more likely to be less focused and more distracted. Try to set a designated time for doing work. Whether it’s early in the morning, right after school, or at night, attempt to stay fairly consistent with your study schedule.


  • Take breaks: Though studying is important, taking time off to get rest is crucial. It can help us regain focus and motivation for when you do go back to studying. These breaks can also help us reduce eye strain from staring at screens all day. 


  • Take advantage of Student Support: For many students, student support is used as a longer lunch break, but if you need to get support from your teachers and get help on work, this period could be very beneficial to you in all of your classes. 


  • Meet with your counselor over Zoom: Whether it’s for academic or emotional support, your counselors are always willing to talk to you! Monte Vista counselor David Solomon says that counselors are going to be providing appointments for their students all throughout the year and that the best ways to get in contact with your counselor are either through email or by their Google voice number.


  • Avoid Distractions: For many of us, a lot of the distractions that prevent us from learning are in our rooms, so try to have school in a new, distraction-free place so you can focus more easily. “I found that having school outside of my room is helpful,” said Monta Vista junior, Amy Bone. “It’s better for me to separate school from everything else to stay focused.”


Online learning has made social interaction increasingly difficult. Many people have faced the problem of awkward breakout rooms and not knowing many of their classmates. Freshmen have been more affected by these issues than others. While returning high school students have made friends in previous years in high school, many freshmen this year are coming into this new environment while not knowing many people in their classes. Here is some advice I hope will help during distance learning. 


  • Set goals to talk to more people: Because of online learning, we don’t get as much in-person interaction with classmates. Setting goals for yourself, like talking to someone new when you’re in a breakout room and getting classmates’ phone numbers, will make it easier for you to get to know your classmates.


  • Reach out to people in your classes: If you have noticed that there’s someone who is in a few of your classes or someone that you have been in a breakout room with, try to reach out to them through social media or even via email!


  • Join clubs: Clubs are a great way to meet new people who share similar interests and are also a great way for you to either continue or start a new hobby. A few examples of clubs on ‘campus’ include the Speech and Debate Club, Girls Who Code, Red Tie Robotics, eSports, and Book Club.


Though one of the perks of online learning is that many students are getting more sleep and are increasing their focus on well-being, it has become more difficult for students to get in the exercise needed. It is very tempting for students to stay inside all day, browsing the web or watching videos on their computer, but we need to remember to stay healthy during quarantine. Here are some ways students have stayed active while social distancing. 


  • Go on walks with your family or pets: Daily walks around your neighborhood are always an easy alternative to rigorous workouts. Plus, if you have a dog or other pet you’d like to take on a walk, it’s always good for them to also get some exercise and let out their energy.


  • Do Zoom workouts with friends: You and a group of friends can set up a session a few days a week for you to do workouts together. This way, you are able to motivate and hold each other accountable. This is also a good way to spend time with friends while staying active. 


  • Move around: Take breaks for yourself and make sure that you aren’t sitting in one place all day. Between classes, get up and walk around, stretch a bit to loosen your muscles, and try not to sit all day. If you have time, go outside and get some fresh air between classes; maybe even have class outside.


While we find ourselves trying to adapt to this new style of learning, finding strategies that will help you find a good balance between school and other activities can increase your productivity on any given day. Hopefully, these strategies will provide you a sense of normalcy in these uncertain times. Good luck!