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How to Survive the Semester: Hot Tips for Online Learning

This upcoming semester will undoubtedly the most difficult semester of my entire academic career. 

Since the spring, schools and universities alike have moved to remote learning since face-to-face instruction during the COVID-19 global pandemic was no longer possible.

It's been nearly six months and although we have been advised to continue to take precautions such as wearing face masks and to practice social distancing, many schools have transitioned to a hybrid learning format that consists of face-to-face instruction and telecommuting via Zoom.

This semester, everyone must learn to adapt to the new norm. Online learning isn't easy, but there are plenty of ways to be successful in this upcoming semester.

Be disciplined enough to meet deadlines

You're probably used to your professor reminding you of every upcoming assignment in class, right? Me too. Unless your professor is doing you the favor of reminding you in a Zoom lecture, you're on your own to meet all of the deadlines for your class. And as my high school English teacher used to say, if you don't meet a deadline, you're dead (which is why they're called DEADlines, get it?) so make sure to check the syllabus and keep track of upcoming assignments. You can also set reminders for yourself in the calendar app on your phone if you're feeling super tech-savvy.

Manage your time wisely

Online classes are probably the worst time you can procrastinate. I would know. I am a huge procrastinator. I am also a huge perfectionist, so I will procrastinate because I want everything to be perfect. However, if you're anything like me you probably already know you aren't doing yourself any favors when you start putting things off, especially when you're chugging coffee and sweating bullets as you frantically type away at that fifteen-page autobiographical essay on Sigmund Freud that you really should have started two weeks ago. 

Talk to your classmates

The biggest problem with online classes is that you're missing out on social interaction with friends and peers that you would usually have in the classroom. It might sound silly, but it is imperative that you find a way to make up for that. Working together helps to establish interpersonal and critical thinking skills, and it helps you to learn better. Don't be afraid to set up a GroupMe or a virtual study group.

Be motivated enough to meet those deadlines

Once you've established deadlines, you have to be motivated enough to meet those deadlines. You have to hold yourself accountable for that. Think of it this way: if you don't do it, no one will. If you want to succeed, you're the only one who can make it happen.

Stay healthy

As important as school is, your number one priority should be your own health. Period. If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to be productive. However, if you work too hard and overdo it, you'll burn yourself out. Be sure to practice social distancing and always wear a mask. Wash your hands frequently and if you or someone you know starts to show symptoms of COVID-19, please get tested as quickly as possible.

There's a lot of stress and pressure to adapt to the new norm, but with confidence, you'll be sure to succeed this semester and in all your future online classes!

Michaela Shaw was the vice president and senior editor of the Her Campus chapter at Indiana University of Pennsylvania from 2020-2022. Michaela is also a member of Active Minds, Alpha Kappa Delta, the National Society for Leadership and Success, Sociology Club, and Psi Chi. She also volunteers with Hopeful Hearts, a grief support group for children and families. After completing an internship in Alleghany County, she will graduate in August with a dual baccalaureate in Psychology and Sociology and a minor in Child and Adult Advocacy Studies. She intends on pursuing a master's degree in Social Work with a concentration on Children, Youth and Families. She likes video games, reading, rainy days, vinyl records, Thai food, and spending time with her cat, Ron. 
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