COVID and College Learning: How the Two Don't Have to Be at Odds
2020 was extremely difficult for most people. As a college student completing her first year at the University of Florida, I was hurt when I heard that educational facilities across the nation were transitioning to e-learning for the upcoming school year. During the early months of summer, as I prepared to quarantine for the next several months, I was preoccupied with the fate of my college education. Before this semester, I avoided online courses and enjoyed the interactive nature of in-person courses. I didn't think remote learning would be for me.
Fortunately, I managed to get through the semester with very few hiccups along the way. I would be lying if I said it was easy, but with patience and persistence (and two very lengthy holiday vacations), I got through it. It feels as if just yesterday I was packing up my life in Gainesville to move home for a month. With the spring semester just days away, and a majority of classes still entirely online, it is time to regroup and prepare for another unconventional semester. Luckily, I have some tips to help with just that!
Create a routine for yourself.
I entered last semester thinking that “remote learning” directly translated to “sleeping in till noon everyday.” To my surprise, this was not the case, and to maintain a productive lifestyle, I had no option but to develop a routine centered around each of my obligations.
I value the ability to connect with peers and a professor that comes with in-person classes;however, I found that there are benefits to remote learning as well. For many, it is difficult to build an in-person schedule with ideal class times. For example, on any given day of the week, you may have a class at 8:30 a.m., a class at 2:00 p.m. and a class at 4:00 p.m., each with hour-long periods between them.
Remote learning allows for you to pace yourself and watch lectures or complete assignments on your own time. The best way to take advantage of the control you have over your schedule is with a planner. Although you aren’t provided with set meeting times throughout the week, it is important to create your routine that caters to your workload.
Start each morning off right.
For most individuals, the sound of their alarm in the morning is anything but pleasant. Because of this, a morning routine that you anticipate each night when you go to bed is imperative. Associate your alarm with activities that benefit one’s well-being, such as a refreshing shower and nourishing breakfast, instead of the responsibility driven day ahead.
A morning shower is the easiest way to boost your energy, right off the bat. Morning showers are also proven to increase the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are needed to reduce bodily toxins and fight off sicknesses.
Breakfast, as we all know, is considered “the most important meal of the day.” After a good night’s sleep, you must kick-start your metabolism with a hearty meal — one that will tend to your body’s glucose supply, providing the boost of energy and alertness needed to go about your day.
Find your perfect study space.
Finding the motivation to get out of bed when you have access to all your courses from the comfort of your sheets is difficult. If you’re anything like me, creating the perfect study space is crucial to get work done. I am most productive when surrounded by a work environment, such as coffee shops or libraries, where those around me are there for a similar purpose.
Due to the pandemic, I spent the majority of the fall semester seated at my desk. With online learning, I found that lighting a candle and streaming classical music as background noise were great accompaniments when it came to studying.
Remember: We are in this together.
As students, we have been challenged in many ways by the pandemic. What are referred to as the “best four years of our lives” have fallen subject to COVID-19. As we progress through the New Year and begin the next semester of our academic careers, we must remind ourselves that we are in this together. We must hold each other accountable and persevere. Nobody said college was going to be easy — for us, it might just be a tad bit harder.
“Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” —Christian D. Larson, Founder in the New Found movement