College students are learning remotely now more than ever. For some, online learning is a preferred way to balance schoolwork and life with family and friends. For others, this time of remote learning is a default because of the unfortunate current circumstances.
Either way, if you’re learning from home, here are the five best practices you can do to make sure you’re still getting the most out of your college experience.
1. Get ready for class.
Getting ready for class is a must. Create the expectation for yourself that you will be mentally and physically prepared for class.
This can include several things:
- Get up an hour before class: If you are the type of person to roll out of bed at 7:59 for your Zoom class at 8, try getting up earlier and starting your day right. Getting up an hour or more before class makes you more awake and alert so you can actually get something from it.
- Eat breakfast: Getting some food is another way to wake up right. This will help you feel active and present as you attend class, and it give you the fuel to expend the mental energy that learning requires.
- Take a shower and get ready for the day: A third way to wake up and feel like you’re living your best life, taking a shower and getting ready for the day helps you feel more prepared and engaged.
- Dress for success: It’s tempting to wear your sweats and a hoodie to class. For a better experience, dress like you would if you were attending in person. The clothes you wear have an effect on the way you feel. Some people even wear shoes at their desk to complete the “work-mode” feel. Dressing in something a little bit nicer will make you feel like you’re invested and ready to succeed.
2. Schedule time for homework.
It’s not enough to just pay attention in class. A huge part of college (probably where you’ll learn the most!) is in the time spent outside of class completing assignments. Working from home, you’ll need to set aside time specifically for homework. If you don’t schedule it, there’s a good chance it won’t happen—at least, not on time.
Find what works best for you. Ultimately, you know yourself and when you function best. Figure out your own system, but make sure you set up some expectation of intentional study time based on your class schedule.
3. Use the remote work essentials.
Now that so many people are working from home, they are finding the best ways to stay home and not feel like they’re losing their minds. Beyond our normal tips to beating stress that still apply, here are some best practices:
- Designate a work area: If at all possible, find a desk or table and make it your workstation. Find a quiet place, pick the right chair, and seat yourself in or near sunlight if your home or apartment allows. Organize the space as you like and make it your own!
- Take reading assignments or videos outside for fresh air and sunshine.
- Use entertainment as a reward; stay off your phone, YouTube, or Netflix until you accomplish a task.
- Take breaks.
- Go for a walk.
4. Be diligent and stay intentional.
When you’re learning from home, the draw to our other pastimes is even greater than in-person learning. Fight the urge to indulge in your distractions for too long.
Avoid endlessly scrolling through social media; catch yourself before you get sucked down YouTube wormholes or Netflix sessions. Acting like you will ignore them completely probably won’t work. But being aware of when you need to limit them is important.
When you’re learning from home—and really anytime in your life—be intentional about what media you use and how much you use it.
5. Stay connected.
Life as a remote student is obviously much different than on-campus life. There might not be as much going on, and your parents might be getting on your nerves. For that reason, find a way to connect with friends from college online.
That social aspect of college is a big deal, and we need it to feel healthy and known. We need it to be reminded we’re not alone. Use Facetime or Zoom to get some face-to-face interaction with others. Figure out ways to play games online, like Pictionary, Mafia, or Quiplash—whatever you got! There are more ways to be together when we’re apart than ever before.
Incorporate these five best practices into your life, and you can get the most out of learning from home.