July 22, 2020
In the coming weeks, many of us will start going back to school. Normally, we’d be rushing to complete the checklist of stuff we’ll need: new uniforms, new shoes, school supplies. We’d also be busy checking (and rechecking) our class schedules and room assignments.
It’s usually full of hassle.
But in this time of a pandemic, almost none of these tasks is present as we’re all stuck at home. If there’s any rush or hassle right now, it’s more on trying to find a stable internet connection or a device you can use for online classes.
To those of you who chose to take the risk of enrolling this school year despite the uncertainties, take heart! It wasn’t an easy decision to have made, but know that there’s grace for you to help you endure and finish strong! When you persevere despite the odds, you will gain greater endurance and agility in the future.
Remember: Enrolling in an online class does not make you less of a student or less of a future doctor, engineer, or public servant.
Your future remains in the hands of God and that can secure us now more than ever.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
But while we know that your future is secure in God no matter what, we would like to help you navigate these uncharted waters called online learning in the new normal.
The following are some great principles that may guide you in developing your own practical hacks and approaches:
Acceptance is the first vital step in facing the new norm. While we miss our happy days on campus and look forward to better days, we have to face the current reality and do our best to thrive. In this time of crisis, we may never run out of reasons to rant or complain. But with acceptance comes peace, along with the determination to adapt and to persevere despite the challenges.
In order to adapt to change, take a moment to reflect on the following:
The learning setup. What will be your school’s setup, class dynamic, schedule, and teaching approach?
Your logistical needs. Given the setup, what “school supplies” and logistical needs will you have?
Your personal learning style. Figure out as early as now how you learn in this setup. This includes your learning pace, learning capacity in a day, and self-discipline.
Set your heart and mind to do whatever it takes to learn, grow, and finish strong.
Strong relationships can help anchor you, keep your sanity, and motivate you continually.
Right voices lead to right choices. So surround yourself with the following:
A trustworthy mentor. A mentor is someone who can guide, train, and challenge you to accomplish your goals. While age is not the ultimate consideration, it’s best to have someone who has gone ahead of you in terms of his or her season in life. This can be a godly Ate or Kuya, your favorite teacher, a life coach, or even your parents.
Accountability partners. These are friends who will not tolerate your bad habits or negative behavior, but will inspire you, correct you, and check on you. These people are also there to help you get up when you feel down and will ensure your emotional, mental, physical, and even spiritual well-being.
Committed classmates. Identify classmates who are committed to excel. Help each other out. Encourage one another when you’re feeling demotivated.
Surrounding yourself with the right people will help you see that there’s more to this season than just the obvious challenges. There can be opportunities for growth and maturity, and you need the right people to help you see the silver lining behind the clouds.
Lastly, be that kind of friend to someone. A lot of students are just as challenged and clueless as you are, so lend a helping hand and encourage someone.
Staying focused and motivated is a real challenge when you’re studying at home.
The lure of social media, the temptation to just lie in bed, the absence of a teacher in the room, and the general homey feeling—all these things can cause you to feel lazy.
In order to combat this tendency, you may consider doing the following:
If your situation permits, set up an exclusive learning space for studying. It can be a desk, a nook, or a room that is conducive for studying. More than just the space, this creates a psychological drive that puts you in the zone to study.
Prepare! Prepare in the morning: Eat your breakfast and take a bath. It may sound trivial, but it actually prepares your mind and body to “work” when you take a bath before attending your class. Doing these can give you a different kind of energy and a good feeling to go through the day.
Professionalize your own learning rhythm. Also, create a daily schedule and stick to it. You may include breaks in between, but follow your schedule and resist the urge to procrastinate.
Focus! When in class, listen attentively and avoid doing unnecessary things. Get rid of potential distractions such as your phone or your gaming gadgets.
Take it easy. Include regular breaks in your daily routine. Avoid staying up late with your mobile gadgets to avoid burnout and social media fatigue. Take it easy on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up too much. Make room for rest and recreation once in a while.
As we approach this new school year, there are a lot of questions, confusion, and uncertainty.
Some students worry about financial provision for their internet, gadgets, and other things they need.
Others are more worried about their capability to study at home by themselves, while some are not sure about the kind of education that they will receive from their teachers.
Remember, if God has called you to enroll this school year, He will be faithful to provide everything that you need to succeed—may it be finances for your school needs, favor from your teachers, strength to endure, or even grace to pass your subjects.
God is faithful. He knows all your needs even before you ask, and He has provided all these things ahead of time.
As you step out in faith this coming school year, remember that God is pleased with your faith.
The coming months could be tough, but set your heart and mind to honor God with your studies.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men . . .
Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
As you seek to give Him glory through your study habits, your integrity, and your perseverance, He will give you the grace to accomplish the tasks that He has called you to do in this season.
Remember: You are a world-changer because God is working in you. You will emerge better. Fight the good fight of the faith!