‘Business as usual’ tactics help students succeed in online school

Finding a quiet place to study on campus is no longer an option. Gone are the days of settling down in a nook of the sprawling school campus to read the most expensive book you’ve ever hated. Instead students are faced with the task of finding a way to study, go to class and take tests all from home.

While this is a new and uncertain time for all of us, there are certain things that can help us be more successful.

Designate a certain space, that is not your bed, to be your “work-zone.” Similar to studying on campus, picking a physical space to go to while you’re doing school work can help focus your mind.

Change out of your pajamas, even if you’re not having a video meeting. As comfortable as going to school in pajamas may seem, it makes it difficult to focus. By getting dressed you help your brain distinguish between mindlessly surfing the internet and going to class. It also gives you a chance to wash your pajamas.

In addition to creating a physical space, make a calendar. Schedule out what days and times you are going to do your school work. Getting organized will lessen the chances of any assignments or meetings falling through the cracks. It will also help your family/roommates know when you’re “at school” and when you’re actually home.

Though most colleges and universities have moved their spring terms entirely online, maintain a normal sleep schedule. It is possible to stay up until three in the morning, get nine hours of sleep and then do school in the evening, but it is not beneficial in the long run.

Sleeping on the same schedule you used to will not only prep you for reentry to society, but also increase the chances of your professors emailing you back quicker than they would at midnight.

The hardest thing to do in order to be successful at distance learning is to talk to your family or roommates. Explain to them where and when you plan on doing school work and ask them politely to respect your school time as if you were actually out of the house and on campus. If needed, create a physical sign to let them know when you are working.

Communicate with your professors. Most of them are understanding of problems that are arising in light of COVID-19 because they are living through the pandemic, too.

Take care of your basic needs. Sleep, drink water, eat regularly and spend time resting. 

College students tend to pack their schedules full between class, work and homework, not to mention social activities. Use this time of self isolation to establish new patterns of self-care.

Remember to be patient and understanding with yourself, your housemates, classmates and professors as we’re all in new territory and adjusting to a new “normal.”