How to be most efficient during at-home virtual learning


Jennifer Kim '21, Opinions Section Editor

Are you creating the optimal learning environment for yourself? Image Courtesy of

Months into the virtual learning format, there is one fact that many students can agree on: it’s hard to stay focused. Whether it be the hours onscreen, distracting environment at home, onslaught of notifications, staying on track has been a difficult task this year. Though we are in a less-than-ideal situation, there are many steps you can take to optimize your learning experience so that you have a successful online school year.

Stop working! This may seem counterintuitive––but hear me out. There is much evidence that taking a break will help your brain function in the long run: this is due to natural variations in our cycle of alertness. This does not mean you should be missing classes. The 15 minutes in between classes are a good time to ease off of school work. However, be mindful of the time you spend on screen––switching from Zoom classes to texting or social media browsing will not help with fatigue. 

Exercise will also serve you well, especially if you spend that time in nature. After school or before school, take the time to get your body active: it will improve your sustained attention. The same goes for meditation. People who meditate regularly are also quick to notice when they need a break. If you don’t think you have enough time for these efforts, think about the payoff of improved concentration and lessened fatigue. 

Create a good work environment. If you have ready access to anything that can distract you, including but not limited to your phone, you are not creating a work environment that will be aiding in your own focus. Put your phone out of sight or away while you work, as this will allow you to focus. Additionally, make your work environment your work environment. If possible, try not to spend time playing games or texting friends in the same place you try to do homework or attend classes. This will also aid your brain in staying on task.

If you want more tips about staying on task, the Internet is a great resource: there are many tips backed by scientific studies––which are a pretty reliable source! The advice I have listed today has been of tremendous help to me, and I hope they will be to you too. I wish you the best of luck on your virtual journey!