Navigating a new semester has always been difficult, even during times when COVID-19 wasn’t an issue. Selecting courses, reviewing syllabi and starting to learn brand new content takes some time to get used to. Online learning can be a struggle and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and disconnected from yourself.
Below are some tips for how to stay organized, healthy and connected as you plunge forward into a new semester.
- Connect with Classmates
Begin the semester by making an effort to connect and build relationships with your classmates. Set up a study group via FaceTime, Zoom or GoogleChat to discuss course material or upcoming assignments. Zoom breakout rooms can be a great opportunity to meet people. Connecting and communicating with peers can help you better understand the coursework and assignments.
- Online Engagement
Participating in an online class will not only help you to get better grades, but it can benefit your overall learning experience as well. Be sure to review the course syllabus and grading rubric to see how participation is evaluated and make sure you can meet the instructor’s expectations. Engage in class discussions, read your emails, take notes, ask questions, and be an active participant in the course.
- Work Ahead
If you know that you have a busy week with classes and schoolwork coming up, try to get ahead while you can. Log an extra hour on assignments that may conflict with your future study patterns. Having a little bit of wiggle room with assignment deadlines is never a bad idea.
- Set Goals
Reminding yourself of your goals and ambitions can help increase your motivation and determination for a successful semester. Making a list of what you hope to accomplish in the future will provide reassurance as to why you chose to continue your education in the first place.
- Screen Breaks
Even if it’s just a short five-minute break to go and grab a cup of coffee, your body will thank you in the long run. Excessive work can lead to mental strain and affect your physical health. Eyestrain, headaches and blurred vision are just some of the symptoms that can suggest that you’ve spent too much time at your desk. Taking time away from the screen can allow you to reset and return to your work with more energy.
- Big and Small Incentives
Incentives to complete tasks and assignments help make them go a little faster. Build rewards into your work, so that you feel more motivated and enthusiastic about completing it. Right now, the big incentive might be reaching the summer break. Small incentives could be watching a tv show, playing with a pet or taking a bath once you have finished a particular task.
- Adjust Your Study Habits
Everyone has different study habits and methods for retaining information. Think about which style of learning works best for you and identify a study pattern you can follow to you to complete homework and course responsibilities with regularity. You may want to make tailored study guides, order a certain coffee to study with, or listen to specific music while working. Daily checklists can serve as a helpful visual of your productivity during the day.