Belmont, as well as many other schools and universities, started off the remainder of their semester with online learning yesterday. I know I’m not the only person who struggles with online classes, especially since Belmont has not mandated that classes meet at regular times. This lack of consistency can really throw students for a loop and make the rest of the semester a drag. Have no fear! I’ve been working out some ways to help me stay on track, and I’m more than happy to share them with you!
1. Keep your course schedule
As someone who takes 8ams every day Monday through Friday, this definitely hurt to type out, but it’s so true! Even if you aren’t meeting up through Zoom or Blackboard Collaborate, setting aside “class time” every day to watch your lectures, take notes on powerpoints, study, and stay on top of things is so important! I will say that I moved my schedule “back” an hour, so I wake up at 8 to start classes at 9. The structure and routine here will help you to stay focused and motivated- definitely the goal with two months of school left!
2. Work in a separate space if possible
Keeping all of your school-related activities in one spot will simulate the idea of sitting in a classroom rather than in your bed under the covers. A separate space, ideally with a chair and place to put your laptop and notebooks, signals to the brain that it’s time to switch gears and focus on schoolwork. My go-tos are the bar in my kitchen and the table in our living room.
3. Get ready for the day
Alongside keeping with your school schedule, getting physically ready for each day is important to keep you focused and, again, signal to your brain that it’s time to get a couple things checked off of your to-do list. Before classes, I always read my New York Times morning briefing, put in contacts, complete my skincare routine, brush my teeth and hair, and whatever else needs to be done for me to feel ready. Keeping your morning routine, however streamlined or elaborate it is, will aid in helping you feel accomplished early in the morning and prepare you to tackle your other tasks.
4. Use your planner
I cannot stress this one enough! Due dates are changing for everyone with adjusted breaks and lecture plans, and detailing every new assignment due date from your syllabi into your planner or cloud calendar will help you stay on top of your assignments and keep up with larger projects. Plus, if you’re a pen-and-paper person like I am, using fun stationary and pens will make checking things off your to-do list more enjoyable. This isn’t sponsored, but I’ve used Day Designer planning products for the past five years, and their layouts are great for keeping me on track.
5. Structure in time for new things
When’s a better time to sharpen a new skill than when you’re locked in your house for days on end? I’m using this time to try a new hairstyle each day (I’m really bad at hair, but I’m working on it!), spend some time outside with my dog, sketching and designing new products, and creating new content for you guys. Trying a new skill or getting better at an existing one is a good way to break up the cycle of school-study-netflix-sleep.
6. Stay in touch with classmates
You know those classmates that you buddy up with to chat before class and exchange notes with? Even though you’re not physically sitting with them, we have a great opportunity here to deepen those relationships with acquaintances-turned-friends and also keep up with our studies!
7. Get moving
In between “class” periods, it’s a great idea to get a little fresh air and break up your surroundings by walking outside a little bit. If you’re within walking or short driving distance to a local coffee shop that’s still serving takeout orders, call ahead and support them while travelling outside and getting some fresh air. Your body will be grateful for the movement, and your mind will feel refreshed and ready to continue with work after you spend 15 minutes outside.
I hope these tips help you guys out a little bit with keeping on track for the last couple weeks of the semester. You’ve got this! Take a deep breath, and conquer the day!