Tips to Help You Zoom through the School Year

By Nicole Yip
It’s 7:59 and your alarm goes off. You quickly roll out of bed—there’s no time to snooze—your first-period class starts in thirty seconds. You walk to your desk and join your Zoom meeting and find yourself listening to your teacher struggle to connect her mic to her computer. While she’s struggling you start scrolling through Instagram thinking that you’ll start paying attention when she starts teaching, but, the next time you look up from your phone, you realize the class is over. Right now, you may not feel like you’re learning anything; school, to you, might just be trying to submit one assignment after the next before each deadline. However, after failing your first test (or first few tests) because you didn’t pay attention in class and you didn’t study since it was open notes, you realize it is time to start taking school seriously. 
It’s hard to do when you don’t even leave your house. Remote learning may be difficult, but you have to focus and do your work for the sake of your education. Everyone is having a hard time adjusting to remote learning, especially since there are so many problems that come along with it.  
Everyone can see when you fall asleep in class, and yes, they’re taking pictures  

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

After a long day of Zoom classes, you may want to take a nap after your last period class or take a nap during your free periods or take a nap in the four minutes in between classes, or maybe even a nap during class. You may be suffering from Zoom fatigue, which is the feeling of exhaustion after video calls. Researchers have found that Zoom fatigue is due to the fact that video calls require more energy and focus. We try harder to look like we are paying attention, and we have to work harder to read non-verbal cues like facial expressions and tone (which is also harder to read when your teacher is wearing a facemask). 
To help prevent this, avoid multitasking. It may be tempting, but avoid doing work from other classes and actually pay attention during class. Take breaks when you need them. Sometimes you just need to stop staring at your screen and take a breather. If you have the same lunch period as a friend, have a Zoom lunch together. It’s so weird to be in school and not be able to actually talk to anyone. Brush up on your social skills while finally being able to eat an edible school lunch for a change. 
Blankly staring at your laptop is not helping you learn
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

We all know by now trying to stay focused during online classes is difficult. Even if you’re not on your phone or online shopping, it is easy to just stare at your class while completely zoning out. Rather than blankly staring at your class, get your iPad or a notebook and actually take down notes (yes, even in the classes where your teachers post the PowerPoint in Classroom). This may help you actually listen to your classes and hopefully will help you retain some of the information. You could also try sharing a document with a friend or two where you all take notes to make sure you don’t miss anything.
We all know why you’re smiling at your crotch 
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY. Turn it off, keep it in another room, and don’t touch it until the end of the school day. Or at the very least turn off your notifications and put your phone out of reach in case you need to ask your friend a question or ask someone to get your teacher to let you in the meeting. You know that once you reach for your phone just to reply to a text, it will lead to you scrolling through TikTok and suddenly when you look up, your class has been over for ten minutes and you’re late to your next class. In fact, keep your workspace organized and clear of all distractions. 
Stop it with the awkward Zoom silences  
Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock

Engagement and participation are now more important than ever. Participating in your class increases your ability to learn. However, when you are learning remotely, motivating yourself to participate can also help you stay focused and keep you on task. Participating is also the only chance you get to engage and interact with your teacher and fellow students. Since you are at home, teachers can’t tell if you look confused. If you do have a question, unmute your mic and ask it. 
Is the teacher glitching out or am I?
Photo Courtesy of istockphoto

Glitches and bad audio can make it really easy for you to miss something. If this happens ask a friend or unmute yourself to ask your teacher. Chances are nobody in class heard what your teacher said. Your wifi could cut out at any time and if that happens, email your teacher to make sure you didn’t miss out on anything important. 
Stop playing Among Us until 1 am 
Photo Courtesy of istockphoto

Make sure that you are on top of all your classes and managing your time wisely. Make sure you know when all deadlines are, they can sneak up on you even when you do know them. After a long day of sitting at your desk and going to class, it’s hard to continue to sit at your desk and do your work. After school is over, take a break, relax, stretch your legs, and maybe even go outside for fresh air. But don’t forget to do your homework and study. Procrastinating will only lead to you staying up late and falling asleep in your Zoom classes. Hopefully, as the year goes on, online school will improve—but you will only learn if you buckle down and do the work.