Although I pride myself on being a very organized person, throughout the first few weeks of class I found myself feeling overwhelmed. It is not an uncommon feeling to be going through if you are attending online classes for the first time (and in the middle of a pandemic). Here are some tips that have been helping me rock my classes and take care of my mental health!
1. Try out the Pomodoro Studying Technique when you find yourself being easily distracted
The Pomodoro technique is extremely helpful if you find yourself not being able to focus on your homework or lectures! It is 25 minutes of focused work with five minutes of break time following! After two hours of doing this studying technique, you get to take a 30-minute break to reward yourself for focused study time!
2. Get a planner and fill it up with all the things you need to get done every week
Be more organized! Lay out your syllabi and write all things due throughout the semester down in your calendar or planner. This may seem like a tedious task, but it is so worth it!! No more excuses as to not know when something was due.
3. Take breaks
If you feel like you have been at it for a while and your work efficiency has been dwindling, it is time to take a break! Call a loved one, friend, or just go for a run or walk to clear your head! When you come back to your task, you will be ready to refocus!
4. Remember to be eating at least three meals a day
It is vital that you are staying hydrated and nourishing your body with food during these hectic times of our lives! It is so easy to neglect this when you have many lectures to watch and assignments due but food will fuel you, remember that!
5. Do not be afraid to attend your professor's online office hours
It is quite the learning curve whether you have synchronous or asynchronous classes but I think it is so important that you try to go to your prof's office hours at least twice a month. This is plenty helpful when preparing for tests! Have a list of questions that you feel like you're not prepared enough to be tested over yet! Sending an email could suffice but if you are not convinced that you understand the topics, it's important that you utilize this resource as much as you need.
6. Do not attend lectures or work on homework in bed
If you are in bed studying and watching lectures, you are only hurting yourself! This worsens sleep quality AND is not an effective way to study. If you are limited to your room and don't have a desk, make a fort and study on the floor. Get creative!
7. Wake up early and get everything out of the way
If you have been struggling to work on assignments at night, it's time to wake up early and try to work on them in the morning! You might not get to sleep in but at least you will have the evenings free to do as you please. Weekends are for sleeping in anyways! If you find you are unproductive in the morning, try the afternoons! Try what is best for you!
8. Start a routine
I know this may sound impossible, "Danniell we are in the middle of a pandemic, how TF do you suppose we do this?" Well, I mean — getting up before the afternoon, making some breakfast, and plan your whole day out! Plan what you want and need to get done and you will feel so happy and proud of yourself when you accomplished all that you set out to do in the morning!
9. Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
I know this is next to impossible for college students but it doesn't mean you should give up on that goal altogether! You need to sleep. Your brain is processing too much information every day to not be getting enough rest!
But remember, NEVER pull an all-nighter to study for a test or get stuff done. This is single-handedly the worst thing you can do for yourself. I feel like this is pretty self-explanatory but you will wreck your sleeping schedule and probably bomb that test because you will be falling asleep during the test.
10. Do your assigned reading before watching or attending lecture
This is such an underrated and overlooked tip. I know that in some cases it may be more supplementary than required but if you already purchased the book might as well use it to your advantage!! It really helps to understand the topics and concepts you will be going over in class.
11. Before class starts, read over your notes from last lecture
Going through your previous notes for that class helps ensure that the material is always fresh in your head. Studying for the test should make a big difference since the notes are cemented in your head already.
12. Keep in touch with your loved ones
Make and schedule in time to catch up with your friends and family. Whether that be through zoom or distance! It is vital to be fostering the relationships that matter most in your life during these difficult times.
13. Be at peace with the things you cannot control
You can't control some things and you must make peace with that. I saved the most important one for last. This is the one that I was struggling the most with. We are college kids in the middle of a freaking pandemic, our situations are the opposite of ideal! There may be times where your internet will go out in the middle of a test or assignment, your computer might crash, some things we may not be able to control and we must work on being okay with that.
Whatever situation you find yourself in and doing online school, give yourself a pat on the back. It is truly a unique experience we are going through but that doesn't mean it is impossible. I hope these tips help you in succeeding in your online courses and improving your mental health!