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Zooming to Success: 6 Tips for Acing Zoom Classes

Ever since classes switched to online mode, a number of difficulties have emerged regarding students’ ability to engage in academics. A few include: decreasing focus, lack of motivation, family obligations, lack of access to quality internet, and a shift in time zones. While some of these difficulties are unalterable, we do have the power to change our relationship with online classes by optimizing our focus and motivation. Below are 6 tips to help increase focus and motivation while learning online:

#1: Attend Classes!

This tip may seem obvious, but chances are it is very tempting to skip live classes and depend on recordings. However, live classes allow you to be engaged in real time with your professors and peers. Attending classes live not only gives you the incentive to pay attention, but it also allows you to exercise your brain and keep up with your professor, instead of pausing a recording because you feel bored.

Woman with curly hair waving and saying hi to someone through her laptop.
Photo by Yan from Pexels

#2: Study in a Designated Area Free of Distractions

Designating a place where you can work consistently will train your brain to associate that area with productivity and focus. The idea is that if you wanted to study, you would most likely go to a library instead of a party, because you would associate the library with a place for quiet and focus. Likewise, you can learn to associate other designated spots with productivity.

#3: Maintain a Regular Schedule

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of a regular schedule now that you can wake up five minutes before class, study in bed, and even chow down a meal as you listen to the lecture of the day. However, maintaining a sleep schedule and morning routine can really set you up for success as your brain becomes used to the daily patterns and learns when it needs to focus. 

black and white calendar flat lay
Photo by Emma Matthews Digital Content Production from Unsplash

#4: Dress for Success

Even if you can totally attend virtual lectures in your pajamas, dressing up as if you were going to a live lecture can make you feel more disciplined. Your pajamas promote a sense of comfort and home, but to be productive, you must imagine that you are in an environment very similar to the classroom. By dressing for success, we trick our brains into being more productive and focused, just like we would be in an actual classroom. 

#5: Take a Break

Spending hours online daily can lead to Zoom fatigue, decreasing motivation, and an overall negative relationship with school. By finding moments in our day when we can take a break, whether by going for a walk outside or simply staring at a wall for a few minutes, we are able to recharge our minds so that we can stay productive and avoid burnout.

two friends walking big dogs on leashes on a bright grassy hill
Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

#6: Practice Kindness

Online classes are not the most optimal form of education, and they come with new challenges. Therefore, we can’t expect our normal experiences to continue within this new environment. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you occasionally lose focus or just don’t want to engage in academics for a few hours. Don’t criticize yourself for not understanding new concepts or not doing as well in classes as you think you should. We must adjust our expectations and realize that we are doing our best in the current moment, and that in itself is enough. Remember to just pause, give yourself a hug, and relax sometimes. 

With all the ups and downs of Zoom classes, it can be easy to get frustrated. These tips can increase your productivity while learning online. No matter how chaotic classes can get, remember that we’re adjusting and trying our best under new and difficult circumstances.

Victoria Do

UC Berkeley '23

I am a sophomore majoring in Psychology and minoring in Data Science. My passions include mental health advocacy and exploring the effects of positivity in everyday life. My hobbies include playing with my dogs and crocheting.
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