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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

Let’s face it: online college can be hard. Even if the content of a class is easy, suffering through professors learning how to use technology, students not knowing internet etiquette, and wifi problems can make you go mad. I should know, I currently have classes with all three of these problems! Here’s what I’m doing to survive Zoom classes I do not like.

Turn down the volume. 

Does someone in your class have a very annoying voice? Does someone asking how to use the “raise hand” function make you want to scratch out your own eyes? Turn down the volume until you can barely hear them. Not having their voices so in your face will help you take a chill pill and survive until the end of class.

Pin the professor’s tile.

Even in discussion classes, looking at everyone at the same time can get overwhelming, especially if there are people you don’t like. Cut down on distractions by only pinning one person’s tile, even if it’s your own. Not seeing people lounging on their beds, eating, or staring off into space might even help you concentrate better!

Hide self-view.

Let’s be honest…we check ourselves out in the camera too many times. We’re taught from a young age to be self-conscious about how we look, so who can blame us? However, constantly checking out your appearance can distract you from learning. Hide that self-view (or, if possible, turn off your camera) to stay engaged.

Private message people. 

Not the best way to pay attention, but private messaging your friends on Zoom can help make a class more bearable. Just make sure you don’t accidentally message the whole class! Virtual classrooms also give us the opportunity to see people’s reactions when we compliment them in the chat. Try it out!

Ask more questions.

It might sound counterintuitive, but engaging with a class you hate can actually make it better. By asking questions you show the professor that you care, making them more likely to help you in the future. Asking questions can also lead where a professor takes their lecture, giving you more control over what you learn. 

Dedicate a space specifically for online classes.

Being online means that you can be in class while lounging on your bed. Though it sounds nice in theory, laying down, slouching, lounging, etc. can hurt your concentration. By picking a dedicated spot for online classes you can increase your concentration and productivity. You can even break through the monotony of being inside all day by choosing a different location for each type of task you have to do! 

Make friends.

This is the hardest tip, but the most worthwhile. Online college can feel very isolating. The social atmosphere of campus is all but gone during a pandemic. However, making friends is still possible, and friends make any class better. Maybe start out by complimenting someone’s Zoom background. Then maybe ask them to be in a study group with you. Next thing you know, you’ll make an online game night! Having someone you’re at least familiar with, who you can chat with during class, will make class go by quicker.

Going to school online wasn’t something any of us were expecting, but we’re here now, and we will make the most of it. Our hardships now are preparing us to be resilient, better digital communicators in the future. Who knows, maybe our online classes today will lead to an online career tomorrow!

Hello! I am a junior studying Peace & Conflict Studies and Strategic Communication at the University of Utah. I am also minoring in Political Science. I am passionate about advocacy, education, and Star Trek!
Ailish Harris is a Stage Management and Performing Arts Design transfer student at the University of Utah. She's originally from Salt Lake City, UT, but was lucky enough to attend Emerson College in Boston, MA for her first 3 semesters of college. She has written for both Her Campus Emerson and Her Campus Utah, and is the current Editor in Chief for Her Campus Utah! She is a student leader in many capacities, working as the Secretary for Stage Managers at the U and as the Historian for the Department of Theatre's Student Advisory Committee. She loves Halloween, cooking, theatre, documentaries, organization, fashion, her pet hedgehog Chester, true crime, and Her Campus!