If you’re like me, you’re feeling a little stressed about keeping your grades afloat during an almost completely online semester. I personally learn better when I physically attend a lecture and have been racking my brain to come up with any sort of alternatives to the discussion benefits that I used to get when in the classroom. What I decided to do is to try and plan the perfect study session with my friends that is both beneficial to our learning and safe amid a pandemic.
Find a motivated group of individuals. This is quite possibly the most important step in the planning process. These people do not have to be in the same classes as you, but they do need to be willing to discuss class topics and give constructive criticism. Think about it this way: pick people who you would ask to proofread your work and give you positive feedback and suggested edits. This is also a great opportunity to grow new friendships!
Set guidelines. Guidelines are SO important to keeping the study session on track and safe. Make sure everyone in your selected group understands that they should not physically attend if they are feeling sick and that they should maintain a safe social distance if they do attend physically. Study guidelines are also important: set goals for the session and make sure that the grand majority of the work you want to get done actually gets done before discussing non-school things.
Pick a location. The location you pick should be away from where you live and have good conditions to study (quiet spaces etc.). During the summer the best option is outside! The outdoors provides a great space to socially distance and see some pretty views! Winter months are a great time to hit the library and rent out a room large enough to be responsible. If you choose to meet virtually, make sure that where you are physically sitting is away from where you relax (joining a zoom call while sitting in bed is a bad idea. Your mind associates your bed with relaxation).
Make an agenda. Agendas are amazing for keeping your session on track. Schedule time for everyone to discuss what they want, and even schedule time to take a break! You are more likely to get everything done if you schedule it out ahead of time.
Add to this as you feel necessary! Do you study better with snacks? Bring them! Need background music to focus? Ask your group if they are the same way. Studying, discussing, and learning together is going to be one of the biggest ways we stay sane this semester, so we might as well make it the best experience it can be!
Fun Bonus Step:
Theme your study sessions! Everyone dressing in Hawaiian shirts or pajamas for a study session breaks up the routine and makes a nice conversation piece for new members, plus it’s fun!