How to actively pay attention in online school

Paying attention during online school is a huge adjustment for students. Many have never used a computer this long before. This paired with a lack of discipline and no classroom has resulted in a challenge online learners are having to face. The struggle is real for many students including senior Lianne Duran.

“As much fun it is being able to wear fuzzy socks and pajama pants during classes, I think the hardest part of online learning is facing the whole senioritis deal,” Duran said, “and not being in an academic environment that really pushed me. Searching for that motivation without being in a classroom was the greatest obstacle for me.”

Here are some steps to make your online learning experience more bearable.

Step 1- Put on some real clothes for online school.
Now, I know your biggest flex to your in-person friends is that you get to do school in your pajamas, however, it may be time to ditch them. According to, “Professional dress, One study found, increases abstract thinking and gives people a broader perspective.” Put on an outfit that makes you feel like a rockstar and I’m sure your productivity levels will be through the roof.

Step 2-Work in a different room.
Personally, this tip helped me a lot. Doing work in bed sounds great at first until you fall asleep during your teacher’s most important lecture of the week. When you pick a specified location to get stuff done it’s so much easier to get work done. Then if you have a designated workspace, your room or bed can be your stress-free sanctuary.

Step 3- If you can, be around other people.
This step changed my online learning experience. My aunt spent the weekend with us and participated in online school with my sister and I. She was working on things for her job while my sister and I worked on online school, but having someone else working in the same room as me flicked the work switch on and I went into sicko mode. Normally, I’d be dragging, but because I had someone with me I became a much better student.

Step 4- Eat!!
This may seem simple, but eating breakfast and lunch during the school day is very important. According to, eating breakfast helps to improve concentration and increase energy. Online school is a different kind of draining. You aren’t physically around people and being in front of the computer is exhausting. Remember to fuel your body accordingly for the greatest success.

Step 5- Take notes, even if you don’t need them.
I’ve come to find that taking notes during online school is really hard to make yourself do. In my mind, I’m like, ‘why would I need to take notes when I can take one photo and get myself 5 minutes more of TikTok time.’ However, when you take notes you pay much closer attention and remember more. According to Austin Community College taking notes keeps you alert and organized. Even if I’m not taking notes in the class I still try to journal the 3 main takeaways I learned in the class that day. This helps me remember what I learned yesterday and regroup for the task at hand.

Step 6- Hide that phone.
It is so tempting and easy to end up playing candy crush during a class. Your camera is off, you’re in a traditionally relaxed environment and you’re all alone, it’s okay everyone can be guilty of this. However, you have to self-discipline a bit. Remember that if you were on your phone in face-to-face class you’d get it taken up. Using your phone if the zoom goes out is a great tool, but make sure your phone is an asset rather than a distraction.

Online school is an adjustment and at times I’ve just had to accept that it’s hard. However, taking initiative to help yourself succeed is the best form of self-care you can do. Remember that one day things will be different than they are now and celebrate yourself for surviving such a challenge.