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Not many students in Canada wanted to hear that school was completely online. While there are pros like potentially not paying rent, your parent’s home-cooked meals, or even the convenience of never having to leave your bed, for extroverts like myself, this can feel like isolation and a let-down. But it is important to remember that this is temporary and all for the greater good. While there may seem like some huge mountains to climb I have 5 tips to move the online mountain that is distanced learning. 

Designate a Space 

This is one of the most commonly used tips. Why? BECAUSE IT IS TRUE! Take this opportunity to thrift a cute desk and comfy chair, or print some photos and quotes that inspire you and pin them up where you study. The atmosphere of this space is important, but the acoustics and light are even more important. Try to find a spot in your house or apartment where you will not be distracted. For me, it’s tucked away in a room, for others the kitchen table might work. It all depends on how distracted you get but also the space you have to work with. A big piece to think about is the lighting. Natural light is a mood enhancer and can keep you awake. Being in front of a window can provide light and fresh air! Working outside can even be an option when we are not experiencing one of the many winters we have in Canada (I am dreading pre-winter which we all know is coming soon! (RTOR.ORG, Natural Light and Mental Health)

Find a Friend 

Just because they began to call it social distancing does not mean we need to be less social. I prefer the term physical distancing as a better way to describe the 6-foot guidelines. Just because we may not be in the same dorms, cities or even provinces as many of our friends does not mean we still cannot be “with” them. Thanks to COVID-19, technologies and programs such as Zoom, facetime, and the Google Meet program can bring us close to our friend’s and study pals while staying safe! Start an online study group, or even a study break group. Make a coffee and plan snacks with your study pals to never feel alone. 

Communicate with those around you 

If you live with friends, roommates, and especially family this is a key factor. Communication can be difficult but when done with purpose and intent it can be a huge factor in your success. Communicating your schedule if you have online lectures tells those around you that you are unavailable but also asks them to respect noise levels and disruptions while you are in class! If you have younger siblings like me, you know this is key in stopping that awkward Zoom bomb from them in their PJs asking if you want a snack! For exams and quizzes, this is key to ensure you can focus and have peace to write in and not disrupt the lockdown browser. Excess noise could be considered cheating and your sibling jamming out in the shower while you take an exam will feel pretty bad when they realize their demos ended up recorded for the proctors to listen to.

Plan, Revise, Plan 

For many people, online school is not the only big task in their life. For myself, I am a wife, a dog mom, a student, a nanny, and an academic mentor. Some days I wear only a few hats and sometimes I have them stacked on top. Things happen and sometimes we have emergencies we need to take care of. This does not mean we forget about our other responsibilities, but it means we adjust, improvise, adapt, and overcome! Whether you plan your week, day, or hour it is important to constantly look at your plan and revise it. This may be a daily task or weekly. This ensures that you do not miss important assignments or even that date night you planned with your significant other. This is a never-ending circle and may seem repetitive, so make sure you have some white-out to make corrections in your planner because life never goes as planned.

Embrace the Challenges 

We are all living in a time like no other. In my 21 years, I never thought I would be stuck at home for weeks or having to wear a mask wherever I go but, I am here. So just like the cool, personal, and fashion-forward masks, we have come to wear this time and embrace what it teaches you. If you know time management is not your best skill, work on it through online learning. If you are not good with zoom (just like me!) watch some YouTube tutorials and become a pro. This will be a year we will never forget, so make it worthwhile!

Now open up My Learning Space, look at all the syllabi and let’s get going! Here is to the 2020-2021 CoronaVirus school year!!

Kendra Bartels

Laurier Brantford '21

I am a third-year criminology student at Laurier Brantford! You can almost always count on me to have a coffee in my hand! I am a dog mom to the cutest pup and now a wife to the best husband (I might be biased). Let's do life together and laugh along the way!
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