7 Tips for Adjusting to Online Classes
All Storage Online | September 17, 2020 @ 12:00 AM
For many students, the college experience is taking place off-campus this year. This requires some creative solutions when it comes to socializing with friends (Zoom happy hour, anyone?), but it also means adjusting to online classes. Whether your campus is fully remote, hybrid, or TBD, one unexpected lesson you’re going to have to learn this year is how to deal with online classes.
On the plus side, online classes make for the easiest commute ever and you can stay in your pajamas all day. On the down side, you’re going to have to deal with new online platforms, potential technological mishaps, and fighting the desire to watch Netflix during your most boring lecture.
We’re with you in hoping that online learning is as temporary as possible, but while you’re studying from home, here are some tips on acing the virtual college experience:
Don’t wait until two minutes before class begins to figure out how to use Zoom. If your campus uses video streaming, a message board, or some other platform you don’t have prior experience with, take the time to familiarize yourself. Ensure that your internet is working—and have a backup plan like a mobile hotspot if it’s not—and complete any necessary software updates before class.
Stick to a Schedule
If your on-campus routine includes working out, grabbing breakfast, going to class, and then relaxing with a book or movie at the end of the day, try to maintain it even from home. Write down a schedule for studying and stick with it.
Create a Designated Study Space
Train your brain to associate one particular area of your home with studying. Ideally, you’ll have a separate room to use for this, but if that’s not possible, designate a desk, table, or chair. It should be comfy—but not so comfy that you fall asleep.
Yes, we know we mentioned the joy of wearing pajamas all day earlier, but try to avoid making every day pajama day. No, you don’t have to wear a three-piece suit, but try to put on real clothes on days you have to attend class or study. It will make you feel more productive and less inclined to spend the day on the couch scrolling Instagram. You can always change back into sweats when the day is over.
Attend Virtual Office Hours
Online classes can present a challenge for students looking to stand out among their peers. If you’re just a face in a sea of other students on Zoom or a line of text in a chat box, how do you make an impression on your prof? Fortunately, it is possible. Many professors will host virtual office hours. If yours doesn’t, you can still email them with questions or ask for an opportunity to meet one-on-one in a virtual setting to discuss the material. This is key if you’re looking for someone to write you a letter of recommendation some day, or if you just want to get the most out of your learning experience.
Create an organized, clutter-free space that you can study in, and try to eliminate distractions such as a TV in the background or a chatty roommate. Communicate with others you live with to let them know ahead of time when you’d appreciate some quiet in your shared living space, and consider putting your phone on Do Not Disturb when it’s time to hit the books.
Give Yourself a Break
We mean this both literally and figurative. You should literally give yourself a break by making sure that you’re not sitting on a couch or at a desk all day. Make time to grab a snack, go for a walk, or catch up with your roommate. Go outside every day. You should also figuratively give yourself a break too. If you feel overwhelmed by the stress of adjusting to a new learning format, know that everyone else—yep, even your professors—is feeling the strain too. It’s a difficult situation, but you will adapt. And hey, there are always those Zoom happy hours.