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Tips for Being Productive at Home and First-Time Online Learners

In-person courses and online courses are not at all the same. As an avid hybrid learner- taking both online classes and in-person classes for most of my undergraduate career- I have gotten a pretty good hold on how to navigate online learning. Some things I had to learn the hard way. For example, taking a zero for forgetting to upload an assignment that you did weeks in advance is a top-five worst feeling that I wish on no one. Now that it seems that the entire world has switched to online classes, I wanted to share a few of the most essential tips for staying productive while working from home and excelling in online classes for my peeps who have never done this before. I also want to include a HUGE asterisk and say that everyone learns and operates differently, so choose what works best for you and don’t think that I am saying these are the only way to be successful while navigating this confusing time.

 

Use. Your. Planner.

If you bought a shiny new planner and haven’t cracked it open yet, now’s the time to use that baby. If you’re like me and like to check boxes to track your productivity, make a checklist for each assignment and task you need to get done throughout each day and check them off as you complete them. Write down the date and time for when each assignment is due electronically, and, whatever you do, don’t assume that you’ll just remember it (because you really won’t. I promise you).

 

Set Alarms

If you have long-term assignments like papers or professor who uploads all of your assignments at once to be completely at your own pace, make events in your phone calendar or set alarms to remind yourself to complete them. With all classes online, the little assignments that your professor previously would remind you in person to complete will really add up and be hard to keep track of in your head.

 

Get Out of Bed

Although many of us are practicing social distancing and may be using this time to get some extra rest, it’s probably best for your productivity and morale to get out of your bed while completing assignments. Find a desk or quiet place to do your work to get it done quickly and maintain your bed as a place of rest and not of stress.

 

Make a Schedule

Though it may seem that you have all the time in the world to complete assignments while being stuck inside, I have found that setting aside a continuous block of time to work during the day helps get the work done more productively.

 

Log In Daily

This may seem obvious, but make sure to be looking for emails from your professors and University updates and to check Blackboard daily to keep track of all your coursework. It’s especially important in this period of international confusion where information is changing daily to check in on updates from the University and local news.

 

Maintain Your Study Groups

Just because you may be states or even continents apart while campus is closed, it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep the same study buddies that helped keep you afloat during the first half of the semester. Zoom may be overloaded right now, but platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and group Facetime are a great way to stay connected with your classmates during the break.

 

I hope that these tips are somewhat helpful, but I also want to include a HUGE asterisk and say that everyone learns and operates differently, so choose what works best for you and don’t think that I am saying these are the only ways to be successful while navigating this confusing time. Stay healthy, wash your hands, and good luck with the rest of the semester!

I'm a senior at Johns Hopkins University and am studying to become a pediatric occupational therapist. Apart from school, I enjoy running, advocating for minority populations, spending time with my family and friends, and learning new things.
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