Teen Voices of COVID19: How do you stay focused?

In Teen Voices of COVID19, we interview the Center for Young Women’s Health teenage Peer Leaders for insight into their unique experiences during the coronavirus pandemic.

 Your school is shut down, but you’re still expected to do schoolwork. How do you stay focused?

Kaitlyn: For the first time, I have had to do my school work from home. This experience has really  made me realize what a luxury it was to go to school every day. Before all this, I would go from each of my commitments with so much energy, but now there’s no friends to hang out with, no cheer practices, and no club meetings. Now that everything has changed, I never realized how much of an impact my routine had on my productivity. During these last few weeks I developed a new routine that’s been helpful in doing my work. I start my morning by getting up somewhat early and relaxing for an hour before I start my assignments. Then I work for a few hours, walk my dog, and usually finish everything before 5. Even more of a struggle at home was finding a quiet place to do my work. At school, I have never had my dog start barking during a lecture nor my brother start distracting me while I’m studying. The first few days I tried doing my work at our dining room table, but that ended shortly. For me, the best way to get my work done is in my bedroom, with the door locked and my music on.

Njoki: Even before schools were closed, it was hard for me to stay focused every night and complete homework assignments. Now, I not only have to do my assignments but also teach myself certain topics. For me and many of my friends, that has been an especially hard task. It’s hard to focus and complete an assignment quickly because I have no deadline and a lot more distractions. I have found that for certain subjects like Math and English, it helps me focus when I’m on Facetime with my friends and classmates. I can ask my friends for help if I get stuck on a problem, and we can keep each other motivated. For other assignments, however, it can be more distracting to be on Facetime. In this case, I sit either at my desk or the kitchen table, put my headphones in and place my phone 10ft away from me. Sometimes that works; other times it doesn’t. When I find myself taking hours to complete one assignment, I take a break, do other things, then change locations and try again. I figured out that I work best in the early afternoon, so I try to spend a couple of hours around that time on more important and time-consuming assignments.