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Online higher education has always been an option, but for those of us that decided to pursue degrees mostly (or fully) in-person, 2020. As someone who just finished my final semester of college online, I am familiar with the challenges and the disappointments. Here’s my advice on how to handle taking your classes online.
1. Create a space for school
If you can, avoid doing school work in your bed. I know it’s tempting to watch lectures from the comfort of your cozy covers, but studying in bed has been shown to decrease productivity. In addition, working in bed makes it much harder to get a good night’s sleep when the time comes. If you don’t have a desk, try the kitchen table. Really, anywhere beside where you catch your z’s at night!
2. Create a schedule
When classes, work, and extracurriculars were outside of the home, we had to keep our days relatively scheduled. Mimic that schedule to handle online school. Creating a schedule will help you stay on task (and not waste the day away watching Netflix or scrolling through Instagram!). In addition to school and work, include time for exercise, relaxation, and socialization. Yes, socialization! Even though we can’t always see people in-person, it’s important. Call a friend or family member to chat for a few minutes!
3. Get a planner
Utilize a planner or an online calendar. It’s easy to become forgetful these days. Trust me, I know. Brain fog! Having reminders is extremely helpful when trying to stay on task.
4. Find a hobby that isn’t screen-related
We are all feeling the “Zoom fatigue.” Exacerbated by all our other screen time, I’m sure. Find something to do that is not screen related and do it regularly! Read a book, play an instrument, crochet, do a puzzle, or even just go on walks. I found it extremely helpful to go on a short walk between my online lectures.
5. Be patient
As we all navigate this new way of learning, be patient with yourself and with others. This is new for everyone, so give your professors some grace. You likely feel frustrated that you are having trouble getting motivated. That’s ok! Like Newton’s First Law of Motion says, a body in motion stays in motion. Our lives got turned upside down and things came to a skidding halt. It makes sense that it would be hard to get started again. Give yourself grace and do your best!
It’s hard to say when we will go back to school in-person, so try to make the best of going to school online. I try to remind myself what a blessing it is that I have the ability to continue my education, even as we are asked to stay inside. These are just a few things that I have learned along the way, but there are so many more tips and tricks out there for how to handle online school! Find what works for you and run with it.