The coronavirus pandemic has altered the course of humanity’s future. It has affected almost all industries, from restaurants, retailers, to manufacturers.
Moreover, COVID-19 has also reshaped the education sector. While online learning was once a deviation from the traditional classroom setting, this time, it may become the new normal for a lot of colleges and universities.
This is why you should do all that you can to prepare for the fall semester, even in the midst of dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic. Here are the things you can do:
1. Find A Conducive Study Space
With most colleges and universities looking at remote learning for their students, there’s a high probability that you won’t have to leave home to complete your tertiary education. A potential problem that you may encounter is in finding a quiet spot in the house where you can attend your virtual classes without any noise and disturbance.
One option that you have is to still leave the nest and live somewhere near your campus. If you’re going to Brigham Young University in Idaho, you can check out The Landing for accommodations. You can even take their virtual tour so that you can get an idea of the amenities that come with the rental. Leaving home is an ideal choice for students who can’t focus at home, especially if they have younger siblings.
On the other hand, you can also choose to stay with your family. You just have to make sure to reserve a quiet room with ample lighting for the times when you need to attend your online classes.
2. Organize Your Tools
You also have to prepare the devices and tools you’ll need to be able to meet with your professors and classmates successfully. Depending on the number of people in your home, you may need to invest in a personal computer and other peripherals since you’ll be using them most of the time, such as when attending your classes, doing your homework, and completing your other course requirements.
These are the tools that you should have:
- Computer – You can choose to work with a desktop computer or laptop as long as it’s powerful enough to run the required programs. The minimum specs should be a 2GHz processor, 4GB RAM, as well as a video card and monitor that’s capable of running a display of 1024×768 at least. There’s still a chance that you’ll need something faster and stronger, especially if your course entails opening specialized software, like drafting or video editing apps.
- Internet Connection – You need a reliable Internet connection with decent speed to ensure that you won’t experience glitches when listening to your professor virtually. Check the download and upload speeds from your current Internet service provider (ISP) and compare these with your school’s requirements.
- Webcam – Laptops generally come with a built-in webcam, so this peripheral won’t be a problem if you have one. However, if you’ll be using a desktop computer, make sure that you have a webcam so that your professor and classmates can see you in class.
- Headset – A headset is also valuable for participating or asking questions. Find one that has a noise-cancelling feature so that your classmates won’t have to listen to your siblings making a ruckus or singing off-key in the next room.
- Basic Software – You’ll need a word processing app for making your research papers, as well as spreadsheet and presentation programs for your reports. You also have to make sure that you get the latest version of your preferred PDF reader so that you can open class files with ease. Furthermore, cloud storage is valuable for collaborating with your peers during group projects.
- Email Router – Most schools will give you a new email address in their domain. Having an email router can ease the burden of opening and monitoring another inbox for critical school updates. With this, you can have a central location for all your email traffic, ensuring that you don’t miss any vital information that your professor may disseminate.
3. Plot Your Schedule Thoroughly
Studying at home is a challenge for most students because it takes a lot of intrinsic motivation and discipline to establish a study routine and stick to it. You can mitigate any potential problems that you may encounter by creating a schedule.
Time management is the secret to studying successfully, even more so when you’re in an online learning setup. Unlike traditional classes, where the act of showing up in school can help you turn on the student mode in your brain, you might not be able to define your roles clearly when you learn from home.
One of the advantages of online learning is that you can be flexible with your time. When creating your schedule, start by plotting your classes and everything that has a set time. Afterward, assess your preferences, particularly with your body clock, to determine the times when your brain is most active. Some people prefer to work on their assignments and projects in the morning, while others opt to complete them at night.
Whether you choose to be an early bird or night owl depends on you. What’s important is that you work with your natural inclination. This way, your study sessions won’t be much of a struggle and will be more productive.
Additionally, you also have to identify how much time you have to spend studying for each class. There’s an age-old rule that says you should allocate two hours of study for every hour of class.
However, it might be better to review the syllabus for each of your classes, especially with the major exam dates and project deadlines. Use the information as guides to calculate the time that you have to spend studying the topics. You can also weigh the subjects against each other since some may be more intensive than others, thus, requiring more study time.
4. Prepare Yourself Mentally
As mentioned above, online learning requires intrinsic motivation and discipline on your end. That’s why you must prepare yourself mentally. You can do some introspection to get an objective look at your strengths and weaknesses. The former can be your tools to succeed in your learning from home journey. Meanwhile, acknowledging and improving on the latter aspect of your personality can allow you to spot potential issues that you may encounter so that you can think of ways to prevent them.
For instance, you may be someone who can work independently without any prodding from your parents or professors. However, you also have a tendency to overwork, which can lead to burnout. Creating a schedule and deliberately plotting time for rest can help you stay on track with your goals without overexerting yourself.
5. Determine Your Learning Style
Every person has a different learning style. Some absorb information easily through images and other visual aids, while others can understand the topic better by listening to the professor. There are also kinesthetic learners who prefer using their sense of touch when learning.
When doing some introspection, you must also determine your learning style and find ways to maximize it for your online learning. You may discover that you have two preferred styles, so you must identify the tools that can help you take advantage of these approaches.
6. Set Your Goals For The Semester
While your overarching goal is to pass all of your subjects for the fall semester, you should be aware that it takes small steps to achieve your overall objective. These stepping stones are the ones that you need to set in order to succeed in online learning.
It was stated earlier that your course syllabus could serve as a guide on plotting your study schedule. The same document can also help you set your goals for the semester. You should check the dates when you’ll be having the exams and project deadlines. You can create weekly targets using this information.
Remember, you shouldn’t procrastinate with your studies. When you put off the review of your notes and making projects at the last minute, you increase the risk of failing your exam or submitting mediocre work, which won’t help you accomplish your goals.
7. Tell Your Family About Your Plans
Regardless of whether you’ll be living in an apartment near your campus or staying at home, you need to talk with your family about your plans. You might think that they don’t play a role in your success at school. On the contrary, you need people to support you and cheer you on whenever you feel discouraged.
This is particularly true for students who will be staying at home. You need a conducive learning environment, which can entail having peace and quiet when you’re attending your online classes. Your family can help you achieve this aspect and assist you in other areas as well.
Preparing for the fall semester with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can be overwhelming. Nonetheless, you just need to plan what you need to do and not procrastinate so that you can achieve your academic goals. Follow these tips to help you with the upcoming school year.