Universities across the nation are closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, students and teachers are forced to quickly adjust to a whole new learning format. For anyone who hasn’t taken an online class, this can be challenging. Not only are you faced with the stress of leaving campus, but you also need to learn new material in an alien format. Different subjects present their own challenges when taught online. Chemistry students can’t just follow a lab session without any proper tools or chemicals on hand. Art students will need to learn how to adjust to drawing a still life over the camera.
It might not help that you are forced to study from home where the rest of your family is also stuck now. Siblings can get annoying, especially when you are trapped inside with each other for extended periods of time. But it is still possible to ace your classes and finish off strong. Here are some tips for successfully making it through the semester at home.
Create a Comfortable Study Environment
Mimic the Environment You Studied in at University
Find somewhere to study regularly. This could be your room, kitchen, or living room. Make sure it is in a space where you can focus and be productive. If you are easily distracted, the kitchen would probably not be the best area to work in. Any place where your family members usually hang out together wouldn’t be ideal if you need to watch a conference or lecture online. For most people, the best area to study is in their room. Nonetheless, you can experiment for a little to see which setting works best for you. Just make sure you have a strong internet connection where you are. You don’t want to log onto a lagging screen one minute before the lecture was supposed to start.
Set Up Your Space
Organize your textbooks and notebooks according to a method that works best for you before placing them nearby. Having your pens, pencils, and a calculator on hand will also be helpful. Make sure there is enough room to fit your laptop and all of your supplies in front of you. Headphones will also be handy for listening to lectures and focusing. If you need to make your chair a little more comfortable, purchase a backrest pillow. A backrest pillow offers the perfect amount of back, neck, and arm support for hours of studying.
Eliminate Any Distractions
It’s going to be tempting to log onto Netflix or scroll through your Instagram instead of paying attention in lecture. Unless your camera is on, no one will see you! That’s why it’s important to eliminate these distractions during your study time. This may mean hiding your phone or turning off your notifications. Family members can also be distracting. If necessary, tell them when your lecture is starting or when you need to study. They should respect your need to focus during this time.
Make Sure You Know How to Use Your Equipment
Avoid Dealing With Tech Glitches and Malfunctioning Software
Your computer is going to be your best friend during your time at home. Keep your software up-to-date and ready to go so you can hit the ground running. Make sure you know how to use it as well, as you don’t want to spend the first 10 minutes of the lecture trying to figure out how to turn your camera on. You also don’t want to have the camera turned on when you don’t realize it.
Make sure you also familiarize yourself with any online resources your university has provided you. Discussion boards, library portals, cloud storage, team apps, and more will be especially helpful during this time. Should you run into any issues, reach out to your University IT help desk as quickly as possible. Since they may be bogged down with requests, try to look online and see if you can fix the problem yourself while you wait for your IT department to get back to you. Technology can be frustrating to work with, but you will soon find that many of your computer issues are easy to fix.
Practice Time Management
Stay on Top of Assignments and Hold Yourself Accountable for Completing Them
Time management will be an essential skill to use during this time. Even before your schooling switched online, you should have practiced some sort of time management routine. Of course, the disruption of moving home and adjusting to a new learning format can easily upset this. You can still base your new routine on your old one that relied on your unique schedule and learning style. Create a weekly schedule for yourself that includes your class times, study time, and group work time. Add reminders for upcoming assignments in it as well.
Some other time management tips that might be helpful include:
- Time blocking different tasks according to difficulty and priority
- Making your assignments in your calendar and color-coding them according to class or specific assignment
- Creating checkpoints for yourself throughout the term to determine whether you are on track with your assignments
- Trying different project management applications to track your progress on various assignments
- Making a daily to-do list of tasks
One of the perks that online schooling offers is that it is often more flexible than the traditional schooling you are used to. But with this freedom comes the responsibility to hold yourself accountable and stay on track with your studies. And if you start to slack now, you may soon find yourself cramming for an exam hours beforehand or handing in subpar assignments. So have a friend or family member help you stay accountable. Fellow classmates are also great for having someone to check in on you. Of course, you would also do the same for them.
Actively Participate in the Class
Being Online Doesn’t Mean You No Longer Have to Participate in Class Discussions
Thanks to advances in technology, it is a lot easier to participate in an online class now than it was several years ago. Chat rooms, discussion boards, and video conferencing will be the closest thing you have now to communicating with your professors and classmates “in-person.” Therefore, you should take advantage of these resources.
Actively participating in your courses will allow you to have an easier time absorbing the material being thrown at you. Take the time to write a thoughtful response to your classmate’s discussion post. Ask your professor a question about a topic they are covering in the lecture. Always keep an eye out on what other students, as well as your professor, are saying in online chats and discussion boards. This can help you grasp the material while maintaining strong relationships with your classmates and professor.
Lean on Your Friends for Help
Your Friends and Classmates are Here to Help You and Support You
Everyone is in the same boat right now. They are probably dealing with the same frustrations and struggles that you are currently facing. That’s why it is important to lean on them and to help and support them. They can help you study and understand confusing material while also being someone you can talk to.
Keep in touch with your close college friends as well. Just because you are physically apart, that doesn’t mean you can’t host online study sessions or throw Netflix viewing parties. Try to arrange a time when you are all available to video chat. Take this time to study for any upcoming exams or to just take a break from your schoolwork.
Develop a New Routine
Starting and Getting Used to a New Routine Will Help You Adjust to Studying From Home
If your professor is no longer able to accurately mark students for attendance, it’s going to become more and more tempting to play hooky on a few classes. But before you know it, you might find yourself failing to attend any of those classes at all. Developing a routine can help instill some sense of normalcy. Waking up at the usual time, eating breakfast, and getting dressed can help motivate you to stay on top of your class attendance.
Just Keep Studying
It’s Time to Get Down to Work
Hopefully, your study habits won’t change too drastically after coming home. Whether you needed to study with some music on or required strict silence when working, you should try to mimic this environment in the study area you set up for yourself.
It can be hard to feel motivated to study now that classes are online and you have more freedom in what you can do and when you can do it. But now is not the time to slack off. Finish off the semester strong but sticking to a consistent study schedule.
Adjusting to a whole new learning format and environment can be challenging and frustrating. But as you slowly adjust to your new surroundings, you will become better at managing your time and schedule. Do you have tips for studying at home? Tell us in the comments below!