Studying for just about anything has a few basic tenets right? Good lighting, a comfy spot, your basic supplies, etc. Virtual studying, however, is well…uncharted territory. So what’s a student to do?
For most students, there’s still a lot of unknowns. Sadly, that includes whether or not students will be returning to traditional school settings or just doing remote learning. Either way, whether it’s middle, high, undergrad, grad school or continuing ed, these at-home study tips should help you manage some of the “back-to-school pandemic stress” so we can crush those online academic goals!
BEFORE SCHOOL STARTS
ORGANIZE YOUR CALENDER
It may not seem like it on the first day of class but a syllabus is your best friend. Carefully read through it beforehand and note down all the important dates in your calendar (think penciling in Zoom dates, exams, presentations as well as deadlines for papers and projects).
I promise you, this simple little step really sets a foundation that’ll help structure not only your day or week but your academic year so you can be your most productive self.
ORGANIZE YOUR SCHOOL SUPPLIES + NOTES IN ONE PLACE
Having all your documents and office supplies neatly organized is a great way to usher in calmness and block what I like to call squirrel brain. That shift in thinking will add to your productivity which is always a win-win.
Besides, less time digging for things = more time for acing upcoming projects.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
It’s going to be super easy to fall asleep at your desk especially given that we’re either, a) learning or working from home, and b) your desk may be your bed or way too close to it. But resist the urge!
The best way to do that is by getting enough zzz’s.
Unplug before you hit the sheets, keep your room as cool as possible, and avoid sugary snacks and drinks (especially those with caffeine) before bed.
Another good sleep trick is adding some aromatherapy and/or relaxing music to your bedtime prep. But if you’re still not counting sheep or are still super stressed, think back to my post on Signs You’re Stressed AF.
P.S. It goes without saying that you should always consider speaking with your primary doctor to rule out any underlying health conditions.
PREP YOUR SPACE
Whether it be a coffee table or the kitchen table, a space where you can access things like your computer and books is a must for online classes. Even if it’s not a “designated office” you can still make it conducive to a happy learning spot; think making a little grab basket with all your supplies and equipment. That way you can take into any space and still feel like you’re ready to get to work.
Where possible, try to shoot for a study spot with good lighting. Not only so you can see your screen clearly but so others can see you well too (remember we’re living in the world of Zoom and Skype)!
Last prep your space tip? Seek a quiet enough area where you can have the least amount of disruptions. This may mean adjusting your schedule around other household members to find that sweet quiet time.
DRESS THE PART
As much as we’d love to keep on our comfy PJs (#athomelife), this will only remind you, a) how sleepy you are and b) keep you in that ‘I’m too comfy to do anything but relax phase’.
Instead, swap out PJs for an oversized tee and leggings if you want to stay comfy but have an outfit that gets you in a study mood. Want to take it a step further? You could always treat your Zoom classes like you’re going to school and put your best fashion foot forward. Essentially, wear what you’d wear to in-person class at home.
MUTE THOSE DEVICES
If your online class requires you to use your mic and video, disabling/muting your notifications is a must (save for emergencies, however)!
If you find yourself losing focus and drifting off like try to at least jot down as much as you can. Chances are, once you read over the assigned reading and compare it to your notes, it will all start to make sense…hopefully.
REMEMBER TO TAKE BREAKS
Real talk, classes are long and sometimes the material can be beyond boring. So, if your teacher offers breaks… TAKE EM’ as in run, don’t walk!
Stretch your legs, get a snack, dance it out! Whatever you need to do to let your mind and body replenish.
STUDY WITH FRIENDS/CLASSMATES ONLINE
If you miss group studying with your besties or classmates, don’t worry, you still can! Consider organizing some virtual study groups.
Not only will you get your dose of socializing during social distancing, but you’ll also get to sneak some study time in too. You can even take it a step further and play event planner by coming up with some fun games or even putting together an agenda for the online meet-up!
More of a solo studier? After studying, try explaining what you’ve learned. Tell it to your cat, dog, bunny, an unsuspecting sibling (they probably owe you one anyway)! You can even practice in front of a mirror or record yourself.
Remember, if you can explain it, then you’ve aced studying.
Online classes can be tough, but as long as we find ways to adapt to them, we can get some amazing results.