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How to Start the Semester on the Right Foot, Even if it’s Remote

There’s no doubt about how scary, and draining, remote learning can be. The idea of essentially streaming lectures as if they were YouTube videos, sitting behind a screen all day and being left to do it alone can be overwhelming. 

This will be the third time we’re left to complete a semester this way, but it won’t last forever. I’m a firm believer that the third time's a charm, and no matter what this semester looks like, it has potential to be your best one! Hopefully some normalcy will return by the time we say goodbye to Spring 2021 (knock on wood.) In the meantime, here are a few things you can do to ensure you start this semester off on the right foot.

Get some supplies to get you in the mood!

My favorite part about going back to school has always been supply shopping, and it doesn’t just have to be an August thing. Cute notebooks, colorful pens and a good planner work wonders in getting you in an academic mood and often motivate you to want to go to class. 

Schedule it out!

Remote learning has caused our work load to increase exponentially, and I’ve been guilty of leaving everything until the last minute one too many times. This leads to burnout, headaches, and stress. Creating a schedule for assignments with breaks built in for things like snacks, stretching, a bath or even scrolling through Instagram makes the work load much less tedious and much more manageable.

Introduce yourself to your professors!

College classes are big. When you take one through a screen, those in-person connections are never created and it can feel like you’re being talked at, not talked to. Though it isn’t easy to form those connections online, an email can go a long way. Here is a simple template I wrote for an idea, but feel free to modify it however you’d like.


Hello, [professor name]!

I hope this email finds you well. I am enrolled in your class [course name and code]  this semester. With COVID and the remote setting in which learning is happening it is much more difficult to form connections with peers and instructors, so I wanted to reach out and say hello. I am excited for this course, and was wondering if you had any advice to be as successful as possible in this class. I look forward to learning from you this semester.

Best regards,

[First and Last Name, pronouns]

[major and/or college, graduation year]

Reach out to your classmates!

This one can be daunting, and even a little awkward, but I promise you it makes all of the difference. Whether it be through the Zoom chat feature, Canvas messaging or class group chats, making friends in your classes allows you to receive a sense of normalcy, make some friends and create new study buddies. Who knows, maybe your next bestie is in that 500 person lecture.

Believe in yourself!

School can be hard, overwhelming, and stressful. You are smart, capable, and hardworking. Motivation for Zoom University isn’t always easy to find, but believing in yourself can make it that much easier to find.Yes, this one is easier said than done but remember, when this is all over, you’ll be glad you kept trying. Be proud of yourself!

Remote learning is not the ideal way we were hoping to start this semester. Figuring it out is still not easy, but showing up and trying already puts you one step ahead. Here’s hoping that by next fall we start school in a classroom, with people. What is your advice for ensuring success during remote learning?

Noelia Salazar

CU Boulder '23

Noelia is the Director of Social Branding at Her Campus CU Boulder. She is majoring in international affairs with minors in journalism and communications. She loves books, makeup, and coffee. In her free time, she's probably rewatching Gilmore Girls.
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