One of my biggest factors for deciding to go to university was the engaging social aspect. I was drawn to the hustle and bustle of campus life. However, the start of this school year was not how I imagined it. In my second year, I looked forward to networking with professors and collaborating with my peers. Institutions across the world have made many adjustments to in-person instruction to get through this pandemic. So I had to find ways to adapt to this new normal. Here are a few tips for learning during COVID:
Routine, Routine, Routine
You have probably heard this before. A solid way to stay on track is having a routine. The more detailed your plan is, the more likely you will stay focused. Check out online applications like Google Calendar and MyHomework Student Planner for ways to organize school, work, and extracurriculars. If you love having a tangible schedule, then check out Plum Paper for customizable planners or try a four-month whiteboard calendar. Be realistic with yourself when time blocking your days and schedule breaks and lunches. Don’t forget to celebrate your achievements (even the little ones!). Designate a day every month for self-care.
When we start operating on autopilot, we forget to take care of our bodies. Try adding a ten-minute stretch or walk to your schedule every day. Check out Lululemon’s Youtube channel for at-home yoga videos. There are many fitness influencers that offer at-home workouts too. Therefore, find one that works for you. Also, try meal planning so you don’t forget meals and have study snacks available. Stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle on your desk as you study. Some days are harder than others, but getting fresh air or sticking with a healthy routine can keep you on the right path. Your mental health is just as important, so when you feel burnout approaching take time to regroup and ask for help.
One of the biggest issues of online school is all the distractions at home. One measure that I have taken is scheduling “declutter” time. In this hour I send emails, prioritize things in my to-do list, clean my room, and finish minuscule tasks. When I remember something I have to do, I write it down and do it when I declutter.
Remove distractions from your study space by setting limits on your social media usage and turning off your phone. Procrastination is closely tied to fear. Therefore, seek assistance when something appears daunting instead of avoiding it. Try to beat deadlines to decrease unnecessary stress. You can start off small by trying different variations of the Pomodoro technique to increase your productivity.
The Ideal Study Space
After you remove distractions, put effort into your study space. Some essentials for myself are lighting, a comfortable chair, a candle, and chill music. Having a nice ambiance will definitely put you in a good mood.
The adjustment to online school is hard but keep finding tricks to motivate yourself. There are many ways to connect with your peers. Try using platforms such as Facebook, Discord and Reddit to find group chats for courses you are enrolled in. Search for an extracurricular that interests you. Most club fairs have migrated to online formats, so email your student union or visit a guidance counsellor for information packets on clubs that are looking for new members or even executive positions in your faculty’s associations.
I have been meeting with a mentor from my faculty to discuss my performance and how I am adapting to online school. If you prefer group discussion, then create a study group that meets biweekly via video chats to talk about coping strategies. Students are eager to connect, so don’t be afraid to reach out to a classmate during this lonely time!
You will have good and bad days, especially while learning during COVID, so create a support system as soon as your performance starts going south. Reach out for help! See if your school offers online mental health counseling or speak to a sibling, friend, or parent about what you have been struggling with. Basically, a fresh perspective on your situation can make things less overwhelming and ease stress.
Also, remembering what you are doing is not easy. This year has been a big change. Therefore, be proud of your small accomplishments and find comfort in your hobbies! Check out a Student’s Guide To Online Learning for more information on learning during COVID.
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*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.