How to Handle Online Classes and Avoid Burnout
High school and college classes are often difficult enough, but online studying during the coronavirus pandemic can be downright daunting. On top of adjusting to distance learning and teleconference platforms like Zoom, millions of students are locked down and dealing with a very frightening public health risk as well. It is no surprise that so many students list anxiety and depression as major concerns as they wait for the coronavirus threat to subside. However, you don’t have to let the stress of the coronavirus and online education get to you. Here are some great tips you can use to excel at online studying and avoid burnout as well.
Establish a “Learning Environment”
Unless you’ve already been enrolled in a distance learning program before, chances are your home isn’t set up to support you attending virtual classes. So, work hard to turn your home into a learning environment. Choose an area of your home, such as your desk or a corner of a dining room table, and organize it to support distance learning. Place your computer or mobile devices there and keep all of your books, papers, and binders close by so you are ready to attend class.
Choose a room where you can study uninterrupted, with few distractions and minimal disruptions from other family members. You should also try to choose a place that has good Wi-Fi or an internet cable, so you won’t have any problems streaming your classes. If possible, you should also consider keeping your study area separate and distinct from other aspects of your life, so that you can focus during class; don’t keep video games, magazines, or other items nearby that might distract you from your online learning. Check out other useful tips on how to concentrate on your studies.
Keep yourself organized, too. Take a shower and wear clean clothes every morning; do not stay in your pajamas all day long. Eat a hearty breakfast and exercise if you can, make your bed, and keep your room tidy. No one studies well if they look like a mess, and their room is a disaster. Additionally, staying healthy and organized will help you keep depression and anxiety at bay, too.
Make a Plan
You may find that some of your teachers are using very different approaches to online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. Some teachers may have actual online classes that you must attend, while others provide you with reading assignments with questions or online quizzes you must complete on your own time. If you want to succeed in this challenging environment, you are going to need to be proactive and plan your day out accordingly.
Ensure that you create a weekly calendar that shows when you must attend online classes, or if you have to check into a class to get credit for attendance; mark items off on your calendar as you complete them, in case your teachers (who are facing some of the same challenges with online learning that you are) inadvertently forget to mark you as present. You should also write down when each of your assignments is due, and then allocate time on your schedule to do the work as well.
Participate During the Classes
While using online learning tools can be a little bit challenging, do your best to be a part of the virtual classroom. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, send chats, and participate in discussions during the online sessions. If you don’t understand the material presented or the guidance an instructor gives you, ask for clarification; chances are there is another student participating online who has the same exact question.
You should become adept at taking notes while attending your online classes. Your notes will help jog your memory later on when you have to do follow up homework or take a test. So, keep a notebook handy, or learn how to take notes in text with your computer while you’re in the virtual classroom. Your teachers or professors will no doubt appreciate your class participation, too; many of them are likely struggling with the online teaching format and will be happy to know students are listening out there and trying to learn.
Keep in Touch
Communication is crucial, especially during the isolation of social distancing. We are fortunate that we have so many ways to keep in touch while we’re behind closed doors, so there is no reason we should lose contact with people while we’re waiting out the coronavirus. You should use the communication tools available to you to keep in touch with your teachers and fellow students as well.
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Send emails or request online conferences with teachers if you need support understanding subject material covered or if you need guidance on a project you’re working on. Reach out to fellow students, too; weekly homework sessions via teleconferences are a good way to ensure you keep your academic work on track. Beyond helping you succeed in distance learning, communicating with your teachers and other students will also help keep you socially active, albeit at a distance so that the time being locked down goes by faster.
The key to keeping calm and succeeding in the current environment is to be as flexible as possible. Colleges, school systems, teachers, parents, and students have never had to adapt so rapidly to a changing environment before the coronavirus pandemic. If you expect some rough spots and sudden changes to requirements, you’ll be prepared (and calm) when they actually happen.
You should also expect some significant changes to the format of the upcoming semester or school year, too. Most high schools and colleges are unsure of how they will adapt to a post-coronavirus environment. In fact, many students are considering taking a gap year since they find the online education format too challenging or they are worried about paying for tuition in an uncertain economic environment. If you have some of these concerns, you may want to consider a gap year option as well. Here are a few great tips on how you can spend your gap year.
Parting Thoughts: Keep Pressing Forward
Students attending online classes during the coronavirus pandemic are facing unprecedented academic challenges. However, if you take the tips here into consideration, you’ll be able to tackle all of the obstacles. So, stay safe, calm, and happy, and good luck as you press forward with your online education program.