Instead of packing for classes in the morning, students simply walk over from their beds to their desks. Instead of raising their hands to speak, students click a button. Dreaded breakout rooms replace casual conversations. This is now the reality of millions of college students all over the world.
School has never been easy, but the rapid switch to remote learning has caused additional challenges for many—the lack of in-person engagement and easy access to distractions can make it more difficult to focus. However, online learning has its benefits, and the crucial difference for students is whether they have the strategy needed to access the best of online learning. Keep reading for some must-know tips!
- Visualize your goals for the semester
Lack of motivation is one of the biggest monsters waiting to snap away at your online semester. It can be difficult to feel like your studies are as meaningful as they were in person, so to combat the dull monotony of online classes, you have to give yourself the mindset that this matters. Your semester can be just as valuable online. Before classes begin, visualize what you want to get out of this semester, and how you would feel 5 months later, knowing you achieved everything you had mapped out. Return to this big picture whenever you’re feeling stuck and unmotivated.
- Separate your space
One of the biggest advantages of being on campus is that you have to physically move to a classroom, which automatically removes you from your relaxed bedroom attitude and puts you into a study mindset. Your goal should be to recreate this in your home. It’s best if you can find a quiet spot other than your bedroom to study, but even if you don’t have much space to work with, you can restrict yourself from relaxing at your desk or studying in bed.
- Find ways to engage
Zoom lectures make it easy for you to zone off and do something else, and not all professors will hold you accountable for it. You are responsible for your own learning, so you should find different ways of staying engaged during class. This might mean you actively take notes during lecture instead of waiting to watch the recording, or giving yourself small missions to complete every class, such as asking a question.
- Limit screen fatigue
Staying on your laptop all day will strain your physical health and eyesight. While it may be more convenient to complete all your tasks digitally, it might make you feel better to create analogue tasks when possible. For instance, you might choose to print out a reading and physically highlight it and take notes instead of reading a PDF, or to outline a paper in a physical notebook before typing it out.
- Join a study group
If you’re not the best at time management, joining a study group is one of the easiest methods to hold yourself accountable for doing work. What better way to get something done than to make a promise with other people to do it together at the same time? Discussion or study groups will also aid your academics, since you will be able to talk over the material together with your peers. Plus, there’s the added benefit of getting regularly scheduled semi-social time with your friends at a time when that can be difficult to find!
- Dedicate time for rest
Resting is just as important for productivity as working is. You will not perform at full capacity if you do not divide your schedule into study and rest time. To avoid assignments and lectures bleeding into your sleep, meals, and relaxation, give yourself a set “off time”—for example, you can promise yourself you will get everything done before 8 P.M. on a certain day, and that you will dedicate the rest of the evening to yourself. This will give you a refreshed mind heading into the next day, and will allow you to focus better when you do work.
- Give yourself rewards
Remote learning is hard! One strategy to motivate yourself further is to set certain rewards. This can be as simple as the emotional reward of ticking a small task off a to-do list—yes, that counts as a psychological reward. But you can also regularly give yourself a treat after sticking to your deadlines for a full week, or do something special when an exam is over. Celebrate the fruit of your own labor; you worked hard to get here.
Getting through online school is no easy feat, but with the tips above, you will be able to master its ups and downs. Get a cup of coffee, log into zoom, and keep rocking!