Let’s be honest, we’re all missing the freedom we had pre-pandemic. Many of us are probably even missing going to actual classes in university. We really took those long lineups at the Building 6 Tim Hortons for granted. But for the safety of ourselves and others, we continue to social distance and live our lives primarily from the comfort of our homes. However, when working from home, it can be hard to find the motivation to stay focused on course work – especially as the weather gets nicer. There’s no professor in front of you or peers beside you to help you stay on track. The responsibility is even more so on yourself as a student to be disciplined and get the work done each day. Luckily, there are many ways to prevent you from getting off track. With spring classes recently commencing online, we’ve put together a list of our top tips for acing your online school work from home.
- Plan your day
Staying focused and committed to school work when you’re at home is one of the biggest challenges. This is why it’s beneficial to plan out each day; it will help keep your days efficient and allow you to stay on top of lectures, assignments, readings, etc. When planning your week, pick which days you need to designate to school work and/or projects, and then write a more specific plan for those days. Start with a time you want to wake up so that you don’t oversleep and fall behind on your day. Then, choose certain tasks that you want to get done such as online lectures you need to attend, readings you need to finish, and assignments you need to start, work on, or complete. Structuring your day like this will help you hold yourself accountable and ensures you don’t fall behind in your class.
- Create a workspace
The environment you work in can also impact how productive and focused you are. When working at home, it’s good to set up a designated work space you can regularly use. This helps things feel more routine. Find a quiet space where you can bring your usual school items — such as textbooks, notebooks, pens, highlighters, laptop — and make a workstation. Instagram will try to tempt you, so try leaving your phone away from your work space to limit distractions.
- Do your normal school day routine
It’s easy to stay in your pjs or sweatpants all day when working from home — they’re comfy, I know. But getting dressed and doing your usual routine (such as hair and/or makeup) helps set the tone for your day and can better prepare you for being productive.
- Actively participate
At first you might feel like you are alone in this process, especially when you can’t see any of your classmates in person. However, that can change when you actively participate in the lessons provided by your professor. Engaging in discussions, reading emails, and creating conversation are a few ways you can participate. The current situation we are in makes things more difficult, since going to places like coffee shops to meet up and study is not an option. But, despite the distance, we can still actively participate and stay connected through various platforms like Google Hangout, FaceTime, and Zoom. These platforms are interactive, allowing students to conference call, share projects and documents and collaborate with others.
- Seek help when needed
Your peers and professors may not see your body language to know if you are struggling or not. Even your family or roommates might not notice. Knowing when and how to ask for help can make navigating this unknown terrain much easier and can save you time and stress. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors, fellow students, or close friends if feeling overwhelmed. Communicating with professors also allows them to gauge students’ understanding and may help them discover where there are gaps in their online teaching.
- Take breaks when needed
Not being physically in class can oftentimes be stressful to students and make them feel the need to be constantly present and thriving, despite having less direction and communication. However, as mentioned above, if you plan your day wisely you can make time for breaks and can incorporate fun activities into your routine. Cramming too much information may not be a wise choice, and can lead to more stress, making it harder to stay focused on what you’re learning.
Online classes are a very good option to help you fulfill your goals while achieving other aspirations. Though they come with their own unique challenges, following our advice above can help you be successful and ace your online classes during these trying times. Hopefully we’re all searching for free parking and open cafeteria tables before we know it, but until then, crush those online classes!
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