Adapting to Online Learning

School Sep 10, 2020

Juggling through academics and socialization, trying to find a balance, and working out an arrangement that works for us: navigating through school was always a stressful experience. However, despite how challenging school was, the bleak uniformity laid out the challenges we might face and gave us the space to prepare for them. Contrarily, with how uncertain things are at the moment, switching to online learning feels more unsettling, especially because we might not know what to expect. But we are all together in this and even it feels otherwise, it’s okay to be afraid.

Here are some common concerns, along with simple tactics to be able to deal with them.

Time Management

Online schooling, generally speaking, is relatively more flexible. But being surrounded by all methodologies that appeal to us more than academics do, it is also more distracting.

~Even if you have the liberty to work flexibly, block slots for particular tasks. Work out a schedule at the beginning of each week, based on what you have to do by the end of it.

~It is not the best idea to have messages pop up when you are trying to get an assignment done. If you are privileged enough and can afford to have more than two devices, try to demarcate what you use each one for. If not, check which apps are distracting you the most and turn off the notifications for them.

~Due to the availability of more time, we might tend to take up more than what we can handle. For a lot of us, the idea of rejecting an opportunity sounds unacceptable. But even if you are doing a greater number of things, you are not being able to put in all of what you have in either of them. For whatever opportunities that come across your way, look into how they benefit you and it’s okay to say no to a couple of them.


When in school, attending classes seem to be the only choice. Turning in an assignment is met by constant reminders and deadlines are kept well track of. In online learning, however, you have to make active choices each day: attending a lesson oversleeping for some extra minutes, paying attention to it over scrolling through your phone. E-learning requires so much more self-discipline and initiative than schools.

Have personal goals and deadlines and celebrate your little victories when you achieve them. Even if it was just solving a few questions or reading a chapter, reward yourself and you might just look forward to feeling appreciated the next time.


Learning Styles

Don’t compare your learning arch with someone who was able to fit in with the new style swiftly. Switching to something completely new after years of sticking to just one medium can be difficult to adapt to.

If your environment is supportive enough, make an effort to voice out your suggestions and discomforts. If you miss the engagement and discussions in schools, ask your teacher to adopt breakout rooms during classes. If you feel conscious about switching on your cameras and displaying your room, try to let your teacher know.

If you are unable to cope with the methodologies you are exposed to, there are tons of resources online that can help you. You can also join our discord community and reach out to fellow students for additional support.

Social Isolation

It’s common to feel a lack of affection when schools get converted to technological bubbles. The inability to socialize, meet your friends, and just have a break can be detrimental. This is more so for those in toxic households, who see school as seeking an escape. Reach out to your friends. Even if it might not be the same as meeting them, it does offer a sense of connectedness. Engage in what makes you happy and give some time for your hobbies. You can also find a detailed version of coping with social isolation here.

For People Who Are Disabled

While I do understand that is this is easier said than done, be unapologetic for what you need. Most teachers are not trying to make resources inaccessible; they are simply unaware of how to make the learning experience more inclusive. If, for instance, you need alt. text for any images your teacher sends as a part of the notes, tell them. You deserve to have an education as much as everyone else. Don’t feel sorry for wanting to be accommodated.

For People Who Are Neurodivergent

With most neurotypicals not sensitized towards your needs, schools can be the connecting link to find a supportive environment. While virtual meetings might not replicate this completely, online support groups can still help. And again, express what you need. If a different font, for example, helps your dyslexia, don’t let an ignorant person tell you that it is absurd.

With most of us never having tried this before, we might not even know what challenges each of us would specifically face. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed with the arrangement initially but we are all together in this! We are all going through hard times in our own ways and it’s okay to reach out for any sort of support you need.


Ritika Singhal

Senior year student passionate about social justice and inclusive reform | she/her