3 Ways to Make Online School Work for You

COVID-19 has really changed the way that many of us live. Since March last year, many of us have had to get used to working or studying from home, due to closures and regional lockdowns. Coping with virtual learning can be really hard for people who learn better in groups or prefer the in-person guidance of an instructor to get through their readings and assignments. So how do you cope with online learning when you’re not the kind of person who is naturally self-directed?

3. Create a comfortable environment

Your living situation may or may not be ideal for studying, but there are always ways to make it more comfortable for you. If you have the space, set aside a room just for you to study in. This could work if you’re a young professional living alone or with a partner and have a second bedroom or a den that you could dedicate to study purposes. If you don’t have a separate room, invest in a decorative room divider and set aside a portion of your living room.

Do you live with many people or just have a noisy house? You can study in your bedroom if you don’t have another option, but you will need to make a few changes so that you can focus. I used to keep my PlayStation 4 in my bedroom, but when I returned to full-time studies, I moved it out to the living room so that I would no longer be tempted to run through the streets in GTA V stealing cars and running over helpless pedestrians (yep, somehow I prefer that to actually completing missions). I also bought myself a proper chair and a large enough desk to hold my laptop and leave me enough room to spread out my notes and textbooks.

If you share a bedroom with one or more other people (and you’re all home, thanks to COVID), the noise might still pose a problem and you may not even have space for a desk of your own. In that case, invest in a good pair of noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones so that you can listen to concentration music while you work.

2. Figure out whether you’re a morning or night person

This may not seem very important, but studying when you’re not at peak energy levels can waste a lot of your time. If you’re a night person, don’t study during the day just because someone told you that you should be studying all day and sleeping for eight hours at night. Follow your body. If you’re studying full-time and not working, then create a routine where you sleep until the late morning or early afternoon, and then do something active, such as working out or your daily chores. Once evening rolls around, you can start your assignments and readings, and you will feel alive and motivated.

If you’re a morning person, be sure not to be up on your phone late or leaving all your tasks for the evening. You will be tired and probably not be refreshed when you wake up. Set an early bed time and then get up between 5 to 7 AM to get your studying done. By the time you start to lose energy in the late afternoon and evening, you can then go ahead and do something active, get your errands done, and then go to sleep.

If you’re like me and have messed up energy levels (I have the most energy between 10 PM and 2 AM and again between 5 and 9 AM; the rest of the time, I’m something of a zombie), then work with that. Study when you have the most energy and do everything else when your energy is low. Working out is one of the best things to do when your energy levels are at their lowest because that will help you get your blood flowing and help get you going again.

1. Stay connected with classmates and friends

With most of us in varying forms of lockdown or restrictions on socializing, things can get very lonely, especially if you work from home along with virtual studies. When going to Wal-Mart or the corner shop becomes the main form of entertainment and you haven’t seen your friends in a while, staying motivated is not easy. Since this is quickly becoming our new normal, you may need to get used to connecting with others in ways you’re not used to.

If you’re a university or college student, it’s likely that your courses include online forums for students enrolled in the same course. If you attend your Zoom lectures, it’s likely that your classmates will come together to create a Discord or WhatsApp group chat that you can join. Don’t shy away from these, even if you’re introverted. They can be very useful during moments when you’re feeling isolated or perform better when you’re able to talk things out with others.

Published by Kim-Lee Patterson

Kim-Lee Patterson is an editor and author from Ontario, Canada.

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