Motivation from home


COVID-19. It hit us like a bus in mid-March, and ever since, life has been completely different. The world has adapted and is now functioning differently. While we pray this is only temporary, it seems there’s no end in sight with many stores and restaurants closing once again as the numbers climb. Dine-in eating is practically unheard of. Non-essential workers are out of their jobs and struggling to maintain their lifestyles. Amidst all of this, from kindergarten to twelfth grade, kids are needing to maintain their education. Schools have remained closed in the past months and switched platforms to online learning. With an abundance of screen time and seasonal affective disorder creeping up on us, is it possible to stay motivated? 

As the school year has progressed, there’s no hiding how difficult learning has been. Some are forced to stay staring at a screen for eight hours a day, while others are slightly luckier to have less hours of class. No matter the state, homework seems to be piling on for everyone. It’s near impossible to find energy to complete assignments, let alone even log onto classes. This dilemma paired with seasonal affective disorder, making us tired earlier and giving us less concentration, is a recipe for disaster. 

This isn’t an unpopular feeling either. Everyone is feeling it, no matter the age group. To try and help find motivation and new ways of adaption, four students from each grade were interviewed. From Freshman to Senior, each person has near-identical feelings on the state of schooling.  

Each member interviewed shares similar experiences with the new style. Freshman Medha Boddugari of the group, began her high school life online. While she’s a rather good student, even online learning has her down. Boddugari expresses her struggle and explains the ways she keeps herself on track. “The biggest challenge I had during online school would probably be the lack of motivation to do anything. With the overall situation I couldn’t seem to do work and also be in a good space mentally.” This is a rather common answer too. While Junior Jada Portillo explains she liked distance for the lack of interaction, Sophomore Moirah Harper has a different experience. “The biggest challenge I have had to face during online school was my mental health. The homework load and lack of socialization took a toll on myself as well as my family.” Of course, mental health affects just about every other aspect of life and can make it even harder. 

Motivation is of course hard to come by, and staying home doesn’t help. Separating work from relaxation is important, but how can that be done with such small spaces and no change? When asked if being away from the classroom was a factor in staying focused, there was an overwhelming “Yes”. Just about everyone agrees that the classroom helps them focus. Senior Michael Tabangcura states, “Being away probably makes it harder because I’m very tempted to go on my phone while working.” Another example comes from Harper, “Being away from the classroom usually helps me focus more, but when it’s for long periods of time such as this, it becomes a struggle to stay on track with everything.Boddugari agrees with Harper that being away is nice, but it can become too much very quickly. So, is there any hope in this situation? 

Even with these changes and difficulties, students of West High have found alternate solutions. Motivation comes in different forms for everyone, so maybe something can be taken from each student. While motivation was already hard to find, as distance learning progressed, students found their own ways of working. Portillo’s way of working is knowing that finishing the assignments won’t interrupt her free time later. “Things that motivate me is knowing if I do the work now, I can have fun the rest of the week.” Tabangcura has a different method though. “To help me wake up more, I get dressed and go sit at my desk or kitchen table to help me focus inside (sic) of having the urges to fall back asleep in my bed.”  

Examples of ways to create a learning environment from home are given by Boddugari. Boddugari says that music, moving rooms for school, limiting distractions and taking short breaks between work all help to create a good environment and help staying focused. Harper has similar ideas on differentiating spaces too. Harper’s way of relieving stress is seeing friends over the weekend, so when the school week is back, she has a clear head. With the whole pandemic and fear of sickness though, Harper agrees with Boddugari that small breaks can be helpful in staying on track.  

Distance learning hasn’t been easy in the slightest, but there’s always a ray of light even in the darkest of circumstances. Everyone understands each other’s pain, and although it’s difficult, there will at least be an end to this madness. Until that end though, it’s up to each and every last one of us to succeed from home and find new methods and ideas on our own. With hearing some ideas from other students of ways to stay motivated, new ideas can be constructed and personalized for every individual.

Good luck West High!