5 Simple but Effective Ways to Excel in Online Classes!

Hi everyone! Welcome to another friendly article on how to survive 2020.


Oof, Covid-19 and 2020, name a “better” dynamic duo, I’ll wait…


No? Nothing? That’s ok. The truth is that after March, it has been hard to write, talk, and read about something that does not contain the words “quarantine,” “pandemic,” “mask,” and, of course, “online.”


It has been proven many times that this year is, for the most part, canceled. Concerts, movie premieres, award ceremonies, and even graduation events have been canceled or postponed indefinitely. Thousands have lost their jobs and, with them, the ability to pay for housing, leaving them and their families unprotected. Others, like students and teachers, have been affected in other ways that, while less severe, can take a toll on emotional and physiological health. One of these ways has been, without a doubt, having to transition from in-person to remote learning. While there are advantages to this, such as a decreased risk of contracting the virus, it is impossible to ignore the negative effects of having to spend long hours on the computer daily and relying on emails as our source of communication. For a person that loves taking matters in her own hands and having control of the multiple aspects of her life, I can tell you that remote learning has been excruciating for me. Online school does not only make it harder to connect with others, but it can also be damaging to our soul, draining us of energy and motivation.


If you, like me, are having a hard time adapting to this “temporary” way of learning, I want to remind you that you are not alone in this. That is why I decided to share a list of five things that have helped stay motivated, focused, and healthy.

  1. 1. Create a planning mechanism

    Journal in front of laptop

    Whether it is a store-bought planner, an online calendar, or a handmade agenda, it is super important to have a planning mechanism. Not only will it help you tract deadlines of future assignments and exam dates, but it will also keep you motivated by allowing you to see your progress throughout the semester. You could even create a reward system, and every time you complete an assignment or an exam, you could buy yourself some coffee, candies, or a book. Whatever it takes to keep you inspired and organized, do it. You won’t regret it.

  2. 2. Watch lecture videos in a timely manner

    women with mug and laptop

    Many classes this semester are fully asynchronous. That is, there are not ongoing meetings, but rather the lecture videos are prerecorded and uploaded on the school learning platform. This can be a good thing, especially for those of us who are enrolled in 8:00 am classes, as it allows you to learn at your own pace. But you have to be careful not to let a ton of unwatched videos accumulate. They'll catch up to you, and trust me, having to stay on the computer for 24 hours on a Saturday is not pretty. Not only will it hurt your eyes severely, but it is likely that you will not pay enough attention to each of them, thus compromising your learning. Instead, I recommend you watch the videos as they are uploaded. It will relieve some of that stress and make you feel accomplished.

  3. 3. Attend online office hours

    woman using laptop

    Yes, it is true that communicating through a computer is not the same thing as doing it in person. Things do feel less organic when done through a screen. However, that does not mean that there are not certain advantages to taking online classes. For example, now you don’t have to drive or walk long distances from your home to a professor’s office to get your questions answered. Nor do you have to wait for long periods before it is your turn to talk to your instructor. Many professors are very understanding; they can even set up a one-on-one meeting that accommodates your schedule. So, make the most of the resources available. Help is literally one Zoom call away.

  4. 4. Recess time! Yes, as in elementary school!

    As I mentioned at the beginning, one of the biggest problems with having online school is having to spend an unhealthy amount of time on the computer. Staring at a screen all day does not only hurt your eyes but also affects your body motility due to the lack of exercise. According to the CDC, a person should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, or 150 minutes each week to stay healthy. With that said, do not forget to take a break now and then. Get creative, you can go for a walk, do some yoga, dance to your favorite music, or complete a short workout. Follow this advice, and I guarantee your body and soul will thank you!

  5. 5. Sleep well!

    woman sleeping in bed

    No, the saying “The Night is Still Young” does not apply as a valid justification to stay in front of your computer monitor until 3:00 am, sorry. We are not Batman, more like Cinderella! Our brain and health will turn into a pumpkin if we stay online past midnight. It is critical to sleep for at least eight hours every night. Not only will you maintain your levels of physical energy stable, but you will also notice an improvement in your ability to stay focused for longer periods, thus also improving your academic performance. So, put on your favorite pajamas, turn on relaxing music, and sleep it away.

That is it for this article. Thank you so much for reading. I truly hope that at least one of these tips is of benefit to you. These are by no means easy times, but we must remain positive that “this too shall [and will] pass.” Meanwhile, let us keep doing what we can to keep each other safe.


Thank you for reading.