Five Tips for Making Online School Not So Bad


Anna Nordhaus

Photo taken in the coffee shop Steep and Brew on Odana Road while the online school grind continues.

Emily Nordhaus

Last March when school shut down, I was absolutely overjoyed. The thought of having practically no schedule and getting to sleep in every day seemed to me like utter paradise. Flash forward eight months and these things that made me so delighted last semester now seem so awful! I want to go back to school!!! (Who would ever guess that was possible?!) As one day faded into another, with nothing new ever happening, I found myself in a rut. Fortunately, I decided it was time for change and I needed to recreate the kind of ~feeling~ that school gave me. So here they are: My Five Tips for Making Online School Not So Bad.


1. Go outside every day. Going outside has many benefits; it helps you get Vitamin D, decreases anxiety and increases focus, increases health immunity (which we all need right now), and so much more. Brooke Rhodes, a junior at Middleton High School, says that she “tries to walk [her] dog every day.” She finds that it’s “nice to leave [her] house and spend time outside”. Even a 20 minute walk or eating lunch outside helps me to clear my mind and prepares me to get back to the constant homework grind. 

2. Exercise! This one isn’t something that comes as easily. I don’t wake up every morning saying, “You know what I want to do? Go for a run! That’s how I like to have fun!” It is very unfortunate that it doesn’t work that way. However, I have found that exercising is a vital part of each day, especially when 5 hours of that day are consumed by Zoom calls. Normally when we are in school, there is exercise (minimal as it may be), such as walking to classes, running laps in gym class, or even when the teacher does that annoying thing where they say “Everyone is looking tired. Stand up and we’re going to stretch!” When the exercise isn’t required, I tend not to do it. Even just a simple 30 minute walk, 10 minute Chloe Ting Ab Shred, or yoga video helps me feel so much happier and ready to commit to school.

3. Find a hobby you love. For me, I am in my deepest “school rut” when I’m not doing anything that I love to do. It makes my days feel soulless and school work seem endless. Personally, I love to do things such as reading, playing piano, or cooking and baking. Every day, I like to carve out a chunk of my day (say, an hour) and I do something that involves absolutely no school. When I do this, I give myself a mental break (completely necessary if you want to survive). Because school is so close at hand, I never feel like there is a time when I can just stop— there’s always something to do. Even if that is the only hour in my day that I am doing something that I love to do, my day always feels more complete because of it.

4. Socialize. As we currently find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, this isn’t something that is the easiest to do. However, humans are social creatures, and we need to have interaction outside of our family units. I am obviously not recommending that you run around seeing every person that you know. I do think that when life is the hardest, it is usually because we’re lonely. So facetiming a friend to see how they are doing with online school or reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to in a while is essential, because everyone is in need of more friends right now— even just going downstairs and petting your dog because they are always up for more love!

5. Create a routine. Well, it seems that my four previous tips have all been leading up to this one, and here is the grand reveal! Yes, a routine is probably the thing that I have found the most helpful to make my life manageable during these times. Of course, I could wake up at 8:56 a.m., open my laptop to start Zoom calls, and never leave the comfort of my bed except for mealtimes. OR, and hear me out, I could wake up at 7 a.m. Take a run (killing two birds with one stone right here by doing #1 and #2 at the same time), get ready for the day, and still have an hour of free time before school even starts. Zoom calls are an unfortunate, however necessary, 5 hour block that can’t really be switched around. After 2 p.m., though, you have a very nice chunk of time that is pretty much unscheduled, since there isn’t much to do. Personally, I like to take a break, maybe take a walk, and then get cranking on the ever-present homework. As a junior at Middleton High School, John Burns suggests, “Keep up with homework. It won’t ever lighten up so you might as well be on top of it.” Adhering to these wise words, I usually allot a nice four hour chunk of time every day to make sure that I am never slipping behind. And the rest of the night? Well, my friend, you have just bought yourself a homework-free night, and the best part is, you don’t feel guilty that you’re not doing homework! I then like to go to bed around 10:30 p.m. and get a nice 8 hours of sleep before I start this regime all over again.


Those are my suggestions on how to stay afloat during times that are so demanding and yet so undemanding at the same time. Perhaps even one of these tips could make your days slightly more enjoyable and productive. In the end, self motivation is the only thing to it. Which is hard. So if you need some motivation to get started? YOU’VE GOT THIS! I BELIEVE IN YOU! YOU’RE GOING TO DO GREAT THINGS TODAY!