It doesn’t feel like the first week of the school year as I sit in my room at midnight (typical procrastinating student) typing this. There is no doubt that this year is going to be different for most of us. Learning completely online wasn’t something I ever expected when I came to Laurier in 2017, but then again, who even was I back then? To be honest, the idea of school being all online is scary. None of us have ever been in this position before, but people have studied their whole degrees online before now, so it is possible, and we will get through it together. With my passion for organizing and planning and experience of one eLearning elective, I am here to share some tips that (I think) will help make learning somewhat closer to normal.
1. Keep up with a schedule and a planner
Even before school turned to online delivery, I highly recommended everyone use some kind of planner (as discussed in one of my previous articles). I have always loved planning and scheduling, but now more than ever, I think it is important to keep one since you won’t necessarily be able to rely on those times during class when your professor reminds you of upcoming due dates. I find having a planner helps to keep me motivated, organized and goal-oriented. As for keeping to a schedule, this is also important since days may turn into a long haze of sitting in your room staring at your laptop. Having a plan and routine each day will help you be more productive and feel more in school mode as well as helping you to know when you’ve done enough and it’s time for some rest.
2. Ask questions, no matter how small
It is always important to ask for help if you need it. You cannot do your best if you are confused with an assignment’s instructions or completely lost during a lecture. Now that school is remote, it is even more important to ask for clarification or help because your peers are not next to you in class and there is much less face-to-face time with your professors. If you are confused or unsure of something, ask during class or email your instructor after. Professors know you will still have questions, perhaps even more than before, and will likely give you lots of opportunities to ask, like during virtual office hours, but it is up to you to take them!
3. Separate school from the rest of your life
With many of us working from our bedrooms, living rooms or apartments with roommates, it is important to try and separate school from everything else. Location is the main point of this story. Many people have said that working in your bed is a bad idea since you associate it with sleeping, relaxing, etc. The same could be said about the living room, especially if there are other people around who aren’t working. However, these environments may be good for some people. In fact, many enjoy the hum of talking, coffee makers and music at coffee shops when they study. Overall, the best thing to do is try and set up a regular time and place to work where you will be motivated and productive so that you can be done studying sooner and get back to the rest of your life after!
4. Do not do it all alone
This is a frustrating, scary and even lonely time for us all. Being home, isolated from professors, classmates, friends and family is hard and can have a seriously negative impact on your wellbeing. While we cannot go to class together or hangout as freely as before COVID-19 hit, there are many ways to stay connected and work through the year together. Video call with classmates through Zoom or FaceTime for study sessions or Netflix Parties, take study breaks with your roommates or family members, meet a friend for a distanced coffee or walk. Stay safe but stay connected. It is only together that we can get through this.