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5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Semester of Online Classes

As someone who is reluctant to start the school year with online classes, I have been constantly asking myself how I'm going to make this semester a success. If you're anything like me and dreading the fact that you'll be learning through Zoom, hopefully this list article will give you some ways to make the most of your online classes!

1. Get Some New School Supplies

As college students, it isn’t often that we treat ourselves to new pencils, notepads, etc. Many of us are on a tight budget and saving money to pay off our loans or just buy our next pick-me-up coffee. Although this may be the case, adding some spice to your school supplies can be the right boost of motivation that you need to get the year started. I highly recommend hitting up your local Paper Source or Blick Art Materials to find yourself a fun planner and some colorful plans to write with! I also love decorating all of my supplies with stickers from Redbubble or Glossier. Get creative and think about how you can express yourself through your school supplies!


2. Reach Out to Your Professors

Since many schools are adopting either a hybrid style of online and in-person classes or an entirely online structure of learning, the classroom setting will look a lot different this semester. This can pose new challenges to those who learn better in-person with face-to-face contact (myself included), and, in turn, can create unwanted stress going into the school year. To make sure that you can still be successful and get the most out of your classes, reach out to your professors to foster a positive relationship with them! Try scheduling time through virtual office hours or by email. This will help you feel more connected to what you’re learning and make it more likely that you can get help from this professor if you’re ever struggling. 


3. Create a New Routine

Having a routine is one of the most important things for me when it comes to balancing my school schedule and extracurriculars. Starting a new routine can be challenging, so remember to take it one step at a time! Include healthy habits like adding a step to your skincare routine or journaling after a long day of work. My personal favorite part of my daily routine is making my coffee and breakfast in the morning before I plan out what I want to get done that day. Make sure you give yourself time to eat, rest and drink plenty of water in between online classes; this will make your routine all the more balanced and enjoyable for you as the semester goes on! 


4. Stay Organized

Staying organized is the best way to make sure you’re on track with your goals, whether that be with school or your personal life! My favorite way to do this is by writing everything down in my planner. I often use different color pens, post-it notes and stickers to help me visualize my tasks. Another great organizational tool that I have discovered recently is the website Notion (#notsponsored). Notion allows you to create dashboards for all areas of your life; school, jobs, travel, etc. You can personalize it easily and invite others to share in the information with their Google account. And the best part, it’s free for personal use! 


5. Take it Easy on Yourself

It’s okay to feel a little unmotivated this semester. It can be hard to feel inspired to learn in an environment that looks completely different than what you’re used to. It’s no secret that going to college during a pandemic is entirely less fun and significantly more demanding. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to exceed your typical productivity right away. Figuring out your ideal work-life balance will come with patience and practice. Make sure to schedule time for yourself during your day and in between your class schedule. Whether that’s getting outside to relax and spend time in nature, or taking time to cook yourself a nice meal, take note of what fills you up. 

So, try to take it easy on yourself (and others). It just might even prevent that mid-semester burnout that we all struggle with. And if not for that, do it because your mental health is important and we all deserve to feel our best while we are making the adjustment to online classes. 

As disappointing as it is to have to continue my college experience online, I’m grateful that I still have the opportunity to learn and participate at my university. That being said, staying positive amidst a global pandemic is hard. However, the Her Campus community is all about being strong, bad-a** women that work tirelessly towards their goals. We embody the spirit of what it means to be a college woman; daring, brave, resilient, ambitious and most of all, capable of whatever we set our minds to. Let’s all channel this energy as we work our way into the school year and make the most of our semester of online classes!


Ellie is an Assistant Social Media Editor for Her Campus, College Fashionista and Spoon University. An avid coffee drinker and TikTok enthusiast, she is passionate about all things social justice and exploring the city of Chicago.
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