5 Things That Helped Me Survive Online Courses

The days are getting hotter everyday here in Japan, and we can really feel summer right around the corner! Spring term at ICU is coming to an end, and I'm sure many students are in the midst of preparing for finals.

This spring term was a new experience for all of us. Who would have imagined we'd be having a full term of online courses and online group discussions through zoom? Adapting to this online experience was tough—I struggled with assignments, new ways of time management, and especially with maintaining my motivation for studying. But with the help of some original online course survival hacks, I've overcome most of these challenges!

Here are five things that helped me survive three months of online courses!

  1. 1. Portable Laptop Stand

    I highly recommend this item! Staring at the computer screen for hours can really hurt your body. I used to get shoulder pain, and my body felt so stiff from sitting all day. I realized that having bad posture can really affect your shoulder and back pain, and decided to buy a laptop stand. 

    This changed everything!! With the laptop stand, you can change the angle of your laptop screen, and this helps you maintain better posture while using the computer. It reduced my shoulder cramps, and with a better posture, I didn’t feel as exhausted as I used to even after long hours of online classes.

  2. 2. Noise Cancelling Earphones

    brunette woman shot from behind facing a window, wearing headphones listening to music and holding them with her hands

    Using earphones with the noise cancellation feature can help you make your own bubble to focus on your studies.  Like many other students, I had to leave my university dorm and move back to live with my family. Living with my family is great, but it’s really hard to find a quiet place to study. There’s always someone cooking, watching TV, talking at online meetings… The house is constantly filled with different sounds. 

    What I did to get myself some nice quiet space, was to use my earphones to shut out all the noise around me. I sometimes used noise cancellation even when I wasn’t listening to any music! It really helped me to concentrate, but I sometimes unintentionally annoyed my parents since I couldn’t hear them calling me for dinner. Still, it’s a great way to concentrate, just be careful when you use it!

  3. 3. Night Walks with Family

    two friends walking big dogs on leashes on a bright grassy hill

    Going on night walks with my mum helped me exercise, but also organize my thoughts. Almost every day, I went walking around the neighborhood with my mum at night (don’t worry, we had our masks on). While walking we would talk about different things, and sometimes I would share what I learned from class that day. Our night walks would be like a mini discussion session, and this was an important chance for me to output my thoughts. 

  4. 4. Online Study Dates

    overhead shot of a desk with someone writing in a notebook and on a video call on a computer

    It’s always fun to go out with your friends to study at cafes, but since we can’t go outside, why not have a virtual study date! Video calling your friend and studying together can actually be really fun. Especially if you are taking the same classes with your friend, you can ask questions about the class and help each other with the assignments. I will admit, there might be more talking than studying, but it can be a nice time to catch up on each other and refresh your mind. 

  5. 5. Daily To-Do List

    This isn’t something new I started, but it definitely helped me keep track of what I needed to do. Managing assignments can be really hard when all the information is on different online platforms. And it might just be me, but didn’t it feel like there were more assignments than usual? Keeping track of all these assignments became so much easier with a daily To-Do list set for the week. One thing I did was that I drew a smiley face next to the date if I finished everything on my list. This way it made me motivated to study so I can get a smiley face on every date of my To-Do list!

These were some of my original online course survival hacks! There are still some weeks of school left, so if you are struggling with keeping up with your work, feel free to try any of these hacks.

Lets get through the remaining term together!