Over the course of the past year, education transformed into a more solitary experience: lessons, assignments, and the teachers themselves were only accessible via online learning tools like Zoom and Canvas. This is one of the many impacts felt by students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The switch to virtual learning demanded the creation of novel study spaces from which students would complete the work that would have normally been done in classrooms.
Blue Valley High School Sophomore Kate Sogard is part of the plethora of students who had to construct functional and comfortable schooling environments. Her study area’s biggest benefit is that it allows her to get into an educational mindset before class.
“When I’m in my study space, my brain knows it’s time to learn,” she said.
Sogard believes that occasional change is valuable for those wanting to relax a bit.
“Sometimes it helps to switch up my study space because then it helps my brain take a break,” she said.
“Switching it up,” can mean changing furniture, arrangement, or location. For Sogard, the latter is true.
“I have gone outside when it’s nice outside, and I’ve moved my desk into a different room in my house to see if I like it better,” she said.
Sogard has found that the warmer months provide a better setting for her study space.
“I like to work outside because it feels like I’m not at school,” Sogard said. “It makes school easier to do because I’m happier.”
Additionally, Sogard has a taste that she associates with her study space.
“I associate bitter tastes [with] work because I’m struggling,” Sogard said.
Although Sogard has negative feelings towards school, she has one object that she keeps in her study spaces to bring her joy.
“[I have] this little stuffed dog named Harlen, and he’s just cute,” Sogard said. “When you look at him, you see a little bit of the outside world and [it] makes you feel better.”
Despite her relative success in creating various, functional study spaces and staying organized, Sogard admits that there are some changes she would make if circumstance allowed.
“My desk is kind of small, so I’d [like to] have a bigger desk that would help me be more productive,” she said.
Overall, Sogard stresses the importance of experimenting with new set-ups, since each student has unique needs.
“For me, having a mobile workspace is the best solution, but everyone needs to find what works well for them,” she said.
The Stories Behind the Study Spaces Video: Designated Spaces