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How to Thrive as an Online Student

Written by Nour Abdulkhalek

With this COVID-19 situation, our routines and habits have completely changed, including the way we are getting our education. To some students, online learning is more convenient as it eliminates the commute to school during our cold winters or because you can watch recorded lectures on your own time, leaving you with a bit more freedom. To others, this online system is plainly stressful and feels like more work. Whether your lectures are recorded on Zoom or Adobe Connect, we’ve got you covered! Here are some tips on how to thrive and stay on top of things this year!

In regular circumstances, we may tend to procrastinate and sometimes have poor time management. Now that everything's online, it is so much easier to lose track of time, get distracted, and miss due dates. With family around the house, no professor teaching your lesson live, or a living in a different time zone than school, it is really hard to find our motivation and focus. Obviously, this isn’t ideal! Make sure to stay on top of things by using a time management and organization method that works and is convenient for you specifically. Here are some examples:

  • An online calendar - since everything is online, why not also organize yourself online! I personally prefer Google Calendar; for some platforms, click here

  • A planner - Many people prefer physical hard-copy agendas/planners!

  • A whiteboard - Whiteboards are great for writing out some notes when studying and planning!

As many students would agree, online school feels like a lot more work. With profs constantly posting new readings, lectures, and assignments on your university’s virtual campus (Brightspace, Blackboard, CU learn, etc.) it can get overwhelming very quickly! Getting ahead on readings can really go a long way! Make sure to keep an eye on your course’s syllabus for required readings every now and then. Also, if you find that your professors post too many lectures at a time, try to find some time to get ahead by going over the content and taking notes. It can save you a lot of time afterwards!

Whether you are studying in person or online, always study effectively. This means using studying strategies that work for you and target the type of learner you are. To figure out what type of learner you are, make sure to read “Which VAK learner are you?” (Coming soon!) and be sure to check out our blogs on various studying strategies/habits!

Studying at home is different to everyone. To some, studying at home means sitting at your kitchen table while your mom is talking loudly on the phone. To some, studying at home means sitting in your room while your 4 siblings take turns knocking at your door every 5 minutes. Obviously, these scenarios are very distracting and not what we desire when we study! Finding a study space is so important in doing well and feeling at ease when studying so, whether it is somewhere at home, at the library, or at a coffee shop, stay consistent to avoid procrastination!

During these unusual COVID times, we want to stay home to avoid increasing the number of cases, but it doesn’t mean to totally isolate yourself from others! Having a virtual study buddy can greatly improve our academic performance, but also improve our mental health and make sure we aren’t completely isolating ourselves! Keep a very small bubble or virtually connect with some friends to stay in check together!

Lastly, don’t give up! We know it is challenging for many and you may often find yourself with a lack of motivation but as long as we keep pushing through, everything will be great! We hope these strategies that work well for us will also help you thrive through the school year!

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