Advice for Excelling in Online Learning

This post is crossposted on IU High School’s blog.

Here’s some additional advice I have gained through my experiences at IUHS:

  • I found that focusing on 1-3 courses each day was more productive than working on all of my courses I was taking in a semester; this allowed more time to intently focus on a few assignments, rather than 5-6 assignments.
  • Use a planner to assign dates and times for your assignments, tests, and exams. Over the course of four years, I have used a paper planner, Todoist, Trello, iCloud calendar, and others to help me figure out the best way to plan out my days, weeks, and months. You will have to experiment to find out the method/s that work best for you, but having a planner and a to-do list will help you keep track of what needs to be done every day. 
  • Find someone to help you stay on track. My mom has served this role for me. It can be simple, such as sharing your progress and plans with your accountability partner through a productivity platform like Trello. Or it can be something more complex like having a morning meeting every day to discuss what tasks need to be completed in order for you, the student, to stay on track.
  • Remember the distinction between procrastination and taking breaks. Procrastination is knowing you need to complete a task, but continuing to put it off. Taking a break is being smart enough to recognize the fact that your brain, body, and well-being need time to recover, so that you can be a more efficient and consistent student. Remember, work smarter, not harder.
  • Unfortunately, I cannot protect you from failure and procrastination during your high school journey. However, I can remind you that failures should not be feared, but rather should be treated as lessons and opportunities for personal growth. Failing can show that you have the courage and desire to grow and better yourself. Additionally, I can tell you as a former IUHS student that learning how to manage your stress and to avoid procrastination during your high school years will prepare you and even give you an advantage over your future classmates in college, colleagues, and friends. Learning to manage stress and avoid procrastination is hard, but I am glad I started learning these lessons in the safe, supportive environment at IUHS before I head out into the “real world”. 
  • Always listen to music without words while studying. Okay, this may be a weird one, but it is true, at least in my experiences. Music with lyrics always distracted me from what I was working on.
  • Try to turn off social media and other notifications that are not immediately important on your devices while studying. Additionally, I have had to keep my phone off my desk while I am working to stay focused and motivated. 
  • Try to work around other people. I noticed that when I worked on my schoolwork near my younger sister who was working on her own schoolwork, I was more productive and focused. Working at a coffeehouse, a cafe, the library, or other public places where people were around, but were not too distracting, also helped me stay focused on my schoolwork.

Some final words of advice from Colin Powell, 65th United States Secretary of State:

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

Let me know if you have any other questions by leaving a comment down below.

~ Ceilidh