By Jolene Botha, student guest blogger Has your student ever felt embarrassed to ask their teacher a question because they thought everyone in class would judge them for not understanding? That’s exactly how I felt when I needed help in one of my classes. Not long after I joined Apex Learning Virtual School (ALVS), I still struggled to ask my teachers questions when there was a concept I didn’t understand. But after just two weeks of being a full-time virtual student, I was able to overcome my embarrassment and admit when I needed help. ALVS is not just a school for me; it’s a safe place where I can express my opinions and not worry about being judged. I believe everyone working at ALVS just wants me to be a better student. Below I share the many ways ALVS has helped me grow both as a person and a student. 1) Time management. Working in a virtual environment, I have to manage my time and remain on task according to the proposed schedule the school provides every student. We receive a calendar to keep track of when assignments in each class are due. Attending online school has really motivated me to manage my time efficiently and keep up with the recommended assignment due dates. It seemed easy at first, but the online courses at ALVS push me when it comes to my workload. The due dates really kept me on track. 2) Self-Motivation. As an independent learner, sustaining a constant focus and dedication to my studies is certainly one of the major challenges of going to a virtual school. I know that if I don’t keep up with my work, I will not succeed. Staying on task is rewarding, especially when you finish an assignment earlier than the recommended due date because you are exceeding expectations. That feels like a true accomplishment. I aspire to improve and achieve more as a student now that I am using ALVS. 3) High Expectations. Compared to a traditional high school, ALVS holds us to a very high standard. The ALVS curriculum is definitely challenging. I have to work hard and thoroughly understand my coursework to do well. But that makes it all the more satisfying when I finish an assignment because I know what I’m submitting is truly my very best work. 4) Asking for Help. Asking my teachers for advice, questions, and recommendations has made me a much better student. This has also helped me gain more confidence in my own abilities. Working together with my teachers to understand the content has really helped me to grow. 5) Staying Organized. Being a virtual student requires me to be more organized than when I went to traditional school. I have found that I’m more successful and efficient when I take notes that are easy to read and keep a binder of my worksheets and notes so that it’s easy to find information later. 6) Flexibility ALVS has also given me the flexibility to continue my schoolwork even when I am traveling for weeks at a time with my family. I am able to stay focused on my schoolwork throughout these trips even when I am in another country. About the Author: Originally from South Africa, Jolene Botha is an ALVS student living in Abu Dhabi with her family, including her sister Denén, who recently graduated from ALVS. Jolene plans to pursue physical therapy when she graduates from ALVS in 2021. Learn more about Jolene and Denén on this student profile blog.