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Here we are – re-enrolled in Zoom University for the second semester in a row.  Despite the state’s hopeful plans to fully re-open in time for fall semester 2020, the untamable coronavirus continues to postpone plans and cancel courses of action.  According to Business Insider, an estimated 49% of colleges are hosting some combination of in-person and online courses while the rest remain solely online.  However, even the most detailed hybrid plans are ever-changing.  Some large campuses such as Colorado College and the University of Notre Dame are experiencing large outbreaks already, and UNC Chapel Hill closed their doors after only a week.  If any (or all) of your fall semester is online again, this article is for you.  Here are four ways to promote productivity and success as you continue pursuing your degree online.

Stick to a routine

I know you’ve heard this over and over, but routines are crucial.  Following a set schedule increases productivity, boosts self-esteem, reduces stress, and saves time in the long run.  While some people plan out every minute of their day, others find that a loose agenda serves them better.  No matter your style, it’s important to invest in a solid planner or consider using an e-calendar to help you get organized.  Note that following your morning routine is just as important as your evening routine!

Set up an office 

If you haven’t created a good workspace yet, get crackin’!  This can be anywhere.  Find an area in your home that you know establishes efficiency and drowns out distractions.  Consider all the set-up and lighting that your classes and/or jobs require.  Make sure you have enough room for both your laptop and your books!  Don’t forget to decorate.

Keep track of something

These days often drag on and on.  (Anyone else feel like this fall semester is a perpetual weekend with a few classes and commitments sprinkled in?)  Take up yoga or keep a food log of everything you eat and drink for a month.  Purchase a bunch of ingredients and try random crockpot dishes.  Make sure to log or record your progress somehow!  This can help speed up time (or at least give the illusion that it’s flying).

Embrace your emotions

Why do emotions always seem to have a negative connotation?  Let ‘em out!  Use forms of entertainment – books, music, and movies – as mood adjusters. Celebrate the stuff that matters, rather than the stuff you’re supposed to celebrate.  Don’t dwell on all the experiences that you’re missing out on.  Live in the moment and make whatever memories you can within the parameters of today’s circumstances. Remember to be kind to yourself and those around you.

Hannah Shively

Youngstown '22

Hannah Shively is a senior pursuing her bachelor's degree in instrumental music education from the Dana School of Music at Youngstown State University. She's very passionate about a lot of things: Jesus, music, coffee, fruit snacks, dogs, the cello, and being barefoot. She adores traveling, especially to the beach. You can often find her hanging out with friends, making music, eating delicious food, and going on new adventures.
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