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Well, it looks like we’re in this for the long haul. It’s time for college students to buckle up and prepare for a semester that, for many of us, entails a majority of online or hybrid classes. If you read the title of this article, you’re probably rolling your eyes at the thought that online classes could be described as anything other than the worst-case scenario. You’re not wrong about that, but it is more important than ever to do your best to make these online classes as engaging, productive, and enjoyable as possible for the well-being of both your mental health and your grades. Here are a few ways to make the best out of your online classes:

One of the easiest ways to make online classes more exciting is by customizing your “classroom.” Alright, calling your laptop a classroom might be a little bit over the top, but that is basically true this semester. There are a million different ways to make your laptop your own: one of my favorites is using stickers! Do a little online shopping on Redbubble and Etsy to find a bunch of cute stickers that depict the movies and shows you love, your favorite colors, funny memes or anything else that reflects your personality. Or, add a little more fun to your “classroom” by searching up a cute new wallpaper that inspires you. Whether it be by stickers, laptop cases or wallpapers, customizing your "classroom" is a great way to express yourself and make socially-distanced college life a little more fun.

This next tip may require waking up a bit earlier than normal for class but trust me- it’ll be worth it. It is so important to start your day right with an enjoyable morning routine, because the way you spend your morning will set the tone for the rest of your day. My favorite way to start my morning is to play some relaxing music, make my favorite at-home iced coffee and watch an episode or two of my favorite shows (which usually ends up being Hannah Montana). Whether it involves reading a few pages of a good book right when you wake up, spending some extra time on your makeup or even making a yummy coffee, an enjoyable morning routine that gets you motivated for the day is key to at-home productivity.

Now, this is a big one: get out of those PJs! As amazing as it sounds to stay in your pajamas all day long (which is totally acceptable on one of *those* days), throw on an outfit that makes you feel confident and ready to tackle the day. This simple action will help you immediately feel more awake and focused as well as add a sense of pre-quarantine normalcy to your daily routine.

Finally, one of the most exciting ways to improve an online school day is to grab your best friend, roommate or even your pet and study alongside them. Whether it’s a socially distanced library study session, a much-needed Starbucks visit or having "study dates" with your roommates in the living room, friends are such an important asset. They keep you accountable while also adding some sweet company to an otherwise lonely, boring activity.

Although it may be hard to adjust to this new normal, using these tips and pairing them with a positive mindset will go a long way towards making this semester one for the books. Happy studying!

Caroline Steinfeld is currently a junior at the University of Alabama majoring in Fashion Retailing and minoring in General Business. She is very family-oriented and loves creative writing, going to restaurants with friends, and all things fashion. She is constantly inspired by fashion magazines, iconic 90s movies, and the women around her on campus.
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