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Transitioning to University can be hard enough as it is, let alone starting it on a completely new platform. Paying attention, managing time, and understanding materials are all important steps to success for an academic year, and these are a few tips and tricks I learned last spring to make a smooth changeover to university online.

Write Out Notes

While some students prefer to type out their notes or engage completely and not write any, I highly recommend physically writing out your notes if you’re able to. This is a great way to pay attention and actually commits information to memory faster! 

Fun Fact: when trying to memorize information, writing down the material once is equal to reading out the material seven times! 

Although a lot of students type instead of write their notes because they’re faster at it, you can use online learning to your advantage! Some professors will be pre-recording their lectures, so you might be able to pause them at any time, allowing you to write as slowly as you like!

Use Your TAs

Although I’m sure most of you have utilized your teaching assistants offline, they are a great tool during the semester online as well — and definitely less intimidating than your professors! 

Your TAs are usually students themselves and can sympathize with what you’re going through. Moreover, they are your first source to ask questions about the material and (in my experience) love to discuss or answer any questions with you. I even FaceTimed with one this past spring, so don’t be shy to ask for more help!

Dedicate Hours

Time management is incredibly important for university, especially if you are interested in joining any sports teams. 

Setting timers or dedicating certain hours of the day to different assignments or classes really helps with ensuring you finish everything on your plate. Getting a day planner also really aids in mentally preparing your day and brings your attention to what needs to get done. Making checklists each morning may be basic, but easy! Checking each point off is satisfying and lets you know what you were able to get done in a day, letting you know what to expect for the next one!

Take Breaks

During studying or attending lectures, it is important that you don't run yourself down and spend too much time on the computer! 

Although I don’t recommend taking a two-hour-long Netflix break, I do suggest taking small ten minute breaks in between the activities and plans on your checklist! After watching a lecture go for a walk, or eat a snack before hopping back online to stare at your screen for your assignments. Taking a break can actually ensure a longer attention span afterwards! 

Extra tip: don’t rely on coffee to keep you engaged; getting a full seven hours of sleep is more beneficial in so many ways!

I hope these little tips and tricks help with your transition to online learning. You got this!

Rachel Fiset

Carleton '23

Rachel is a Journalism and Political Science combined honours student. She loves to write, read, and learn any way she can! Rachel enjoys keeping busy, and along with HerCampus is involved with The Charlatan, CKCU 93.1 FM, Book Ravens, and the Campus Activity Board.
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