Over this past year, students have been struggling to keep up with the changes and new implications put into school. Since many students are learning from home in either a completely remote or hybrid learning model, they’re having to figure out how they can be most productive from home. This productivity stems from having a good place to study.
Senior Jackson Hagen’s study space is at a desk in his room. When Hagen realized that he was going to have to learn from home, he took the time to create a space where he felt motivated to do schoolwork. He also organized a file cabinet so that he would have all of the papers for his classes organized and easily accessible.
“I reorganized my file cabinets and made it easy for me to stow all my folders in there,” Hagen said. “I have a place for my pencils, erasers, and even markers or highlighters if I were to need that sometime. I really found a more efficient way to use it for a daily purpose.”
Like Hagen, before COVID, freshman Chanie Rankin didn’t have an efficient study space because she was able to get most of her homework done at school. However, the changes brought on by COVID and her lack of a study space caused the shift from middle school to high school to be especially difficult.
Like most students in middle school, Rankin did most of her homework in her bed. However, she quickly realized her bed was not an efficient study space for her high school workload.
“I realized that I’m not productive while laying in my bed so I’ve moved study spaces like 10 times throughout this entire year,” Rankin said. “I feel like I can’t work in the same place for longer than a week or I get tired and become less productive in that space.”
From her kitchen counter to a chair in the corner of her room, Rankin has moved her study space all over her house in the hopes of staying productive.
“One time I got so tired of being in the same space I literally moved all my stuff to the basement for an entire week,” Rankin said. “I literally slept in the basement for a week, just because I didn’t feel like being in my room anymore. It reminded me too much of school because it’s hard to differentiate school from home when you’re working at home.”
Both Rankin and Hagen have experienced the difficulties of separating school from home and have different ways of coping with distractions and burnout. For instance, Hagen’s tactic to stay on task is to put his phone and other distractions away while studying or in class.
“I don’t like to spend a lot of time on my desk with my phone or in my bed with my phone because I found that when I mix my leisure activities and my school activities I tend to get distracted a lot more,” Hagen said. “I like to put my phone and anything that might be tempted to distract me away downstairs.”
Although school this year has definitely been difficult, Hagen and Rankin have utilized their homes to find and create functional study spaces that promote learning and engagement. They’ve fought through the distractions and were able to motivate themselves to learn.
“At the beginning of high school and COVID and this whole thing I was never motivated because it feels optional, even though it’s not,” Rankin said. “You have to motivate yourself to get up because no one’s gonna tell you to wake up, go to class, do your work, and study for that test; you have to be accountable and stay on track. I feel like having a good space to be dedicated to that is a good thing and I wish I would have done that sooner.”
Even with Hagen moving on to college next year and Rankin staying in high school, the two still plan on using their study spaces to help them stay focused and learn.
“Discovering this study space [has been] a real asset for me as a student [and] has really revolutionized the way I’m going to study in the future,” Hagen said. “Now that I’ve discovered the value that my desk and my study space offers me when I’m trying to learn, it’s my go-to place when I’m trying to study. It’s helped me excel as a student [and] I’ve seen it pay off in the classroom.”