Adjusting to online school during this turbulent time is a challenge. As a third-year student who is also dealing with a tremendous amount of workload and high temptation to just doze off during class, I understand the unbearable feeling of being trapped in this challenging period.
During my first week of online classes, I was not able to fully concentrate on the online class nor find a way to enjoy them more. Regardless of how much I planned out my days ahead, I always felt that I procrastinated the next morning and throughout the week. I realized that planning was not enough to ensure a productive Zoom class, and there are many techniques for everyone to incorporate that can at least make Zoom class more enjoyable.
1. Dress as if you are going to lecture in person
What do you always wear when you go to class? For your past classes, you likely have been attending classes wearing different outfits. I know I did! This action created a routine and signaled to your brain that “hey I’m in class now, not in my bed anymore” and thus boosts your energy if you do it again. Keeping with this routine of dressing for online classes will remind your brain that you are in class, which helps to maintain a sense of control and some degree of normality. Besides, wearing clothes that are not your pajamas decreases the temptation of feeling too relaxed that you might fall asleep.
For me, I always try to change to something more “study casual” like shorts and a T-shirt or leggings and hoodies. This rotates you back to your working/studying routine and reduces the tendency to slack off. It’s not hard to set this routine. All you need the night prior, is to decide what you are planning to wear the next day. Personally, it is now becoming something that I look forward to every night – having no pressure to choose a nice outfit!
2. Eliminate distractions
I used to have so many unnecessary items on my desk that I ended up playing with them instead of focusing in class. What’s more, being in the comfort of your own home, you can easily surf the Internet or social media during class without the teachers knowing. A research study from Kent State University confirmed that 25% of out of 300 students participated said they were more likely to multitask during online class than in-person lectures. Online students have a higher tendency to be distracted by their surroundings since they are not peer-pressured by other people to concentrate in class. To alleviate this problem, you should first identify what items or websites can easily distract you. By creating a minimized study place with only a laptop, notebook, and pen, you will be able to reduce the temptation to slack off.
Also, to diminish distraction, you can install some block applications on your computer and set them for a certain amount of time. I found Block Site on Google Chrome extremely helpful when it comes to blocking sites for productivity. It is easy to install and provides you with various ways to increase your attention to work. If you want to reduce distractions from your mobile devices, I highly recommend study applications such as Forest. Forest is a productivity app that keeps you away from checking your social media. You earn coins from not switching tabs/applications and lose your progress if you close the program. I’m currently using Forest and find it extremely helpful. I am able to focus for a long period of time without distractions and also build some very beautiful trees. Last, but not least, make sure to reward yourself with some light snacks or fruits during your study sessions. For classes that happen around noon, it is hard to focus when your stomach is grumbling every few seconds. By having some fruits/light snacks next to you, you will not have any other excuses to leave the study table!
3. Wake up earlier than your class time
Many people could be confused as to why they might need to wake up earlier when class is “a few seconds” away from their beds. Some people even take classes on their beds. However, being up at least 30 minutes early before class starts will give you plenty of time to prepare breakfast, and even enjoy the refreshing morning weather. People who wake up late or on time to class have a higher tendency to panic and freak out when they cannot connect to the wifi or they forget to charge their laptop the night before. I had once woken up at 8:55am for my 9am class and it didn’t start well. I realized that my computer’s charger was not plugged in properly the night before. The worst thing was that as I turned it on, the computer decided to update its software out of nowhere and I ended up being 30 minutes late for my class. Therefore, waking up 30 minutes earlier than your class time will provide you with sufficient time to prepare yourself for the day ahead and to be fully awake.
Studying online is a new challenge for all of us, both students and teachers. Everyone is in the same learning boat. The important thing is to stay positive during this stressful period. I am aware that many people either are struggling with time differences or trying to find some motivation in studying. I hope these suggestions enlighten your online learning paths. Good luck!
Some other useful resources to help you with your online studying:
- Chapman Learning Commons – Work-School Balance: The Pros, Cons, and How-To’s
- Chapman Learning Commons – Setting Up a Study Space and Study-Pace
- Chapman Learning Commons – Navigating Time Differences for Online Exams
“Off Task During Online Learning: Kent State Study Finds Student.” Kent State University, www.kent.edu/kent/news/kent-state-study-finds-student-multitasking-increases-online-courses.