Originally published on AL.com– May 21, 2020
My life has been full of pivots and transitions. Before my senior year of high school, my family moved to South Carolina where the closest school to my home was 45 minutes away.
I decided to enroll in public school at home with Cyber Academy of South Carolina (CASC) where I could focus on school, concurrently enroll in college courses, and set my sights on college.
After graduating in 2018 and enrolling at Auburn University, I immersed myself in the campus – so different from attending high school from my home in South Carolina!
At Auburn I attended every football game and soon wanted to know what it would take to become an Auburn cheerleader. I had never done cheerleading in my life, but over winter and spring of my freshman year, I learned the skills I needed and make the team!
A year later and what was an amazing season on the team, as we were on a trip for the Women’s SEC basketball tournament in Greenville, SC, we were notified that some changes would be coming for students around the world.
COVID-19 has changed everyone’s “normal.” Auburn transitioned our classes online, cheer and competitive sports came to a complete stop, and we were still unsure when we would be able to return to campus to conclude the semester. While the transition has been bumpy for some of my friends and classmates, because of my experience with online learning in high school and the other transitions I’ve experienced in my life, I’ve been able to make online learning work for me. Whether you’re in grade school or college, with these three tips, online learning can work for you too.
1. Find a structure that works for you and stick with it
I am most successful with a strict schedule. At the beginning of each week, I plan out my schedule for the week and the goals I want to accomplish each day. While learning at home,
I continue to set my alarm, get dressed for the day, eat breakfast, and am ready to go when my first Zoom class of the day begins at 9 AM. When learning at home, it can be easy to fall into a routine of sleeping in, skipping your live classes, and lounging around in your pajamas all day. But it’s important to follow a structure that works for you. Setup an area in your home, that isn’t your bed or couch, where you can focus on school with minimal distractions.
While the morning is my sharpest time of the day, maybe you do your best work in the afternoon or evenings. Whatever the case, block out time and space each day for studying and stick to your routine, even if your favorite Netflix show is waiting!
2. Home is Your New Classroom – Treat it Like One
COVID-19 is causing us all stress and anxiety, so missing one or two Zoom classes, skipping out on studying, or turning in a paper late might not seem that important.
But the choices you make now will influence your future, so treat online school with the same respect as your typical on-campus schedule. You wouldn’t arrive to class ten minutes late every day on campus, so do your best to be on time for your virtual classes. Let others in the household know your schedule, so you aren’t constantly being interrupted in the middle of class.
Would your parents, siblings, or friends walk up to you in the middle of a class lecture on campus to ask a question or tell you something? Probably not! So, when you are supposed to be learning, be present in the moment and make school a priority.
3. Let Your Passion be Your Motivation
Something I struggled with when I first started online school was finding the motivation to learn each day.
But what I soon realized was that while a calculus or English class might not seem that important now, it is important to keep your future goals in mind. We have to get through the “right now” in order to achieve our long-term goals.
So, when you are running low on motivation, let your future goals guide you. Find you what you love. Find your passion. For me, that’s my dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot. Halfway through my senior year of high school I took an introductory aviation course at the local airport. I immediately fell in love with flying and from then on knew I wanted to pursue a career in aviation and become a commercial airline pilot. Most major airlines require a college degree to become a commercial airline pilot.
At Auburn I can earn a professional flight degree, continue flying, and be a part of an amazing college program, all at the same time. But I wouldn’t have made it here without all the foundational classes I took in high school.
Whatever your goals, let them motivate you day in and day out. Combine that motivation with a little structure and determination, and you’ll fly high and soar on any path you pursue.
Cody Diemont is a student athlete at Auburn University, pursuing a professional flight degree, and an alum of Cyber Academy of South Carolina.
To learn more about Cyber Academy of South Carolina, visit https://casc.k12.com/