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A Survival Guide To E-School

By Sam Hirschhorn

Image from the Duke Chronicle

How does the term “Zoom” make you feel? What about “virtual” or “asynchronous”? Excited, confused, frustrated? These are a few of the many words that have been added into our daily vocabulary in the past few months. As you likely have noticed, these words are unique to online school.

According to the UN Children’s Fund, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic last spring, global school closures meant that 1.6 million students lacked in-person instruction. Today, e-school has become an inevitable part of our lives as students, and we are here to provide some tips and tricks to help you make the best of it!


Sticking to a Schedule

One of the most important strategies for acing e-school is sticking to a schedule. A recommended trick is to treat the day like a normal school day: try your best to do your work during the time that class would meet during in-person school.

Another tip to help simulate a regular school day is getting dressed for online classes. While it may be tempting to show up to Zoom class in your pajamas or even in bed, studies have shown that doing homework in bed can harm your sleep schedule by making it harder to stop thinking about work when you get under the covers at night. This lack of sleep can lead to worse academic performance!


Pomodoro Time Management Technique

Another useful trick to manage your time is the Pomodoro Technique. Named after the cute, little tomato shaped timer on their website, this technique aims to help you work more productively. The basic requirement for this technique is to set a 25 minute timer. The Pomodoro creators suggest either using a kitchen timer or the Pomodoro Web App. The technique relies on breaking up work into Pomodoros (25 minute chunks) with breaks after four Pomodoros in a row.

In order to master the technique, you must follow these six steps:

  1. Monitor how many Pomodoros you need to complete a single task

  2. Learn how to avoid distractions while using the Pomodoro

  3. Make estimations of how many Pomodoros you need for a certain activity

  4. Use Pomodoro time not only to work on a task, but also to review what you have learned

  5. Create a time table to plan out your activities. Pomodoro suggests using the Pomodoro Technique Sheets available on their website to help with this step.

  6. Set your own personal goals! For example, you could set a goal for how much you want to get done during a Pomodoro.


Make Time for Fun

One final piece of advice is to make time for things you enjoy! Some of my favorite moments during quarantine include doing relaxing activities—something I was never able to find time for before. Activities I recommend include baking, reading, bracelet making, and virtual dance classes, just to name a few. These activities can be alone or with others, depending on what you’re in the mood for. No matter what your favorite activity is, make sure to reserve time for lunch and “recess” in your e-school schedule to sit back, relax and enjoy your free time at home.


While adjusting to virtual school might be challenging, there are many strategies you can use to ace online school. I hope that this guide will help lead the way!



Editor: Alhena Islam

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