4 Tips for Taking Classes Online

For most students, Spring 2021 is the first semester where you have finally gotten into the groove of taking classes completely online. The past year has been a challenge, but we are ready to face it head on this time around. Through trial and error or cautionary tales, we have all learned how we work best while being stuck at home. That being said, it never hurts to be reminded of some tips and tricks from those who are experiencing it too!

Here are four tips for taking online classes that might help you experience a better year.

1. Take advantage of the time you save not having to commute.

For many of us, getting to class on time meant leaving your house early. I used to leave an hour before class started so that I could drive to campus in time to park, walk to the classroom, and prepare my notes. Not having that commute time means I get an extra hour every morning to spend however I would like! This is a great time to focus on yourself and check in with your mental health. Try meditating or reading a few chapters of a book you like. Being inside from morning to night can take a toll on your emotional wellness. Taking a walk in your neighborhood or getting in a nice stretch in the fresh air can change your perspective on the day ahead. 

2. Get into a routine.

Life pre-pandemic was filled with strict routines for me. I got up at the same time each day, packed my lunch, had my morning coffee, and so on. The first month working and taking classes from home was a challenge as I was so out of sync with my normal day to day schedule. One of the greatest changes I made this past year was to create at home routines that mimicked my life before. I could still wake up early and prepare my lunch ahead of time. I could still enjoy my morning cup of coffee like I did before, even if I spent the whole day sitting by my coffee maker. Sticking with a routine can help you feel productive, stay on task, and break up the monotony of staying at home.

3. Have set times for work, school, and rest.

Just like how a routine can keep you accountable, having set times for different aspects of your life is key. When you are living your life in one setting all the time, it can be easy for things to overlap. For example, when you attend class in the living room it is simple to go ahead and open up your computer 15 minutes early. “Why not? I am ready anyway” you might say, but don’t get caught up in actions like these! Creating boundaries in your life is more important than ever so that you don’t become overwhelmed and burnt out. Set aside certain times for work, school, and rest so that they don’t extend over into one another. Just like how you wouldn’t catch up on sleep during class, you shouldn’t catch up on work during relaxation times. 

4. Go easy on yourself and allow for breaks.

At the start of my quarantine, I tried to use up all my free time learning new things. I taught myself how to sew, tried to pick up a new language, and baked every type of bread imaginable. As time went on, though, I found myself losing steam. While you may find yourself with more time in your days, you don’t necessarily have to fill it up with productivity. Taking breaks and allowing yourself to breathe is vital. I often forget that despite all the time that has passed, we are still living through a historical event and a global pandemic. For your health and your sanity, allow yourself to rest and recuperate. You can read our page on Emotional Wellness During the COVID-19 Outbreak for some more insight. 

While you spend your days at home, you can also check out our ISI Live Events! We come to you live with ISI’s own, Sally McLeod, to talk about topics international students face everyday. You can watch previous lives on our YouTube channel and sign up for reminders about future events.

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