TIPS FOR TEENS: Back on Track

I've adjusted how I study to succeed at remote learning.

by Marvin Lezama

I do not love remote learning. When we were sent home in March, I began struggling with classes that I’d been doing fine in before. I did better when learning was more interactive.

In addition, I get distracted by my phone—which they take away at school—and by worries about my family’s health and my mental state. This pandemic hits people of limited means much harder.

Because of all that, I lost focus on my classwork when school switched to remote learning. As I paused, my workload grew immense, and it was hard returning to work. I needed to earn my credits for high school and college classes that I’m taking as a senior, so I had to change my ways. Here’s what I’ve learned about succeeding at remote learning:

  • While doing homework, I put my phone on silent and hide it under my bed covers. I keep it there until I am finished with my assignments for the day.
  • Never work in bed. I realized that if you set up a workstation at home, it is easier to get things done. I work at a desk in my room, which has helped me stay focused and makes me feel as if I am getting things accomplished.
  • Create a schedule and organize class assignments on paper. Writing down what I need to accomplish each day helps keep me on track. I also remember what I write down on paper more than what I type into my phone or computer. Writing down my tasks as bullet points helps to keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
  • Reach out to your teachers as often and as best you can. My teachers explain things better than just the books or lessons, and they answer my open-ended questions. It also is just nice to connect with the teachers I miss.
  • Talk with people. This one isn’t just about school. I’ve noticed that because I am not socializing in person, I have become way less confident speaking. I’ve become more shy. I worry that when the world comes back to normal, it will be hard for me to converse.


To help address this, I have pushed myself to talk to my friends on the phone instead of always texting. I also speak over Google Hangouts with my English professor. And I use Discord, an app where you can talk to people while playing games with them. I use the app to communicate with both friends and new people, so my verbal communication skills don’t diminish while I’m stuck at home.

Writing down my tasks as bullet points helps to keep me from feeling overwhelmed.
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