Quarantine can be a brutal, brutal thing, especially if you’re doing high school from home. As a high schooler in virtual learning myself, I know the struggle very well. It can be hard to organize your time and learn properly if you’re not used to it. Luckily, I have few tricks up my sleeve to make virtual learning just a bit more bearable. 

#1: Keep a Planner 

Keeping a planner is a great way to organize all your classes and know what all you need to get done, virtual or not. I personally recommend a planner that shows your months and your weeks, that way you can write down the big things for each month and also do things by the week. It’s also good to write down everything as far into the future as you can so you won’t be surprised by tests or assignments last minute. Planners keep you several steps ahead of your work, and are definitely a must for anyone in virtual school. 

#2: Use Focus Apps 

Focus apps are wonderful ways to make sure you don’t get distracted by your phone. When you’re not in face-to-face school, it can be tempting to play on your phone instead of working, which can lead to dropping grades really easily. I use the focus app Plantie to avoid this, although any similar one can do the trick. Apps such as Plantie allow you to set timers for how long you’re going to work, and you get a digital plant as a reward for not opening your phone during that time. However, if you do open your phone, your plant dies. I find it rather effective for keeping my attention on the task at hand, and I definitely recommend it for anyone who’s easily distracted.

#3: Wake Up Early 

When you don’t have to wake up early to get to school, you might feel like waking up later and working in your pajamas. However, this can lead to running out of time for work and feeling tired all day. Instead, I recommend waking up around when you normally would wake up and following a healthy morning routine. Eat breakfast and the like. This helps keep a routine and makes your day more structured. School isn’t optional, so treating your days like school days shouldn’t be either. 

#4: Notes, Notes, Notes! 

Even in face-to-face school, taking notes is really important. You won’t be able to absorb all of the information you need right away. I recommend having notebooks for all of your classes or using programs like Google Docs or Notability. They don’t have to be super clean or aesthetically pleasing—let them be messy initially! You can clean them up later, but when you’re first taking notes, the important thing is getting as much information down as possible. Then, once they’re made neater and more understandable, you can study them before your exams. 

#5: Use Your Resources 

In school, what the teacher teaches you might be hard to understand sometimes. You have to be proactive about your own learning if you want to completely learn something, and that means setting up tutorials with your teachers or with fellow students as well as using your resources. Read ahead, use websites like Khan Academy, and take time to learn outside of class. If you take an active interest in learning rather than just doing well in the class, the information stays with you longer and generally makes your learning experience much more fun. 

These are the biggest things that have helped me through my own virtual learning journey, and hopefully they’ll help you too! Living the virtual life can be

disorienting and difficult, but it’s not forever, and it can even be fun! The key is just to work hard and keep yourself on track. 

Hi! I’m Piya, an aspiring novelist hoping to someday publish. I spend most of my time reading, writing, or playing music, and I also love spending time with my family. I’m very excited to be sharing my perspective on things here at Waco Moms! You can catch me on Tumblr, Instagram, or Twitter.