Back to (virtual) school

Tips for making the most of the ‘college experience’ from home, both academically and socially

Kelsey Paul, Contributing Writer

After spending the majority of the spring 2020 semester online and at home, Quinnipiac University students were eager to return to campus for in-person classes.

That is, MOST students were eager to return to campus.

Design by Michael Clement

Amid COVID-19 concerns, a handful of students opted to complete the fall 2020 semester remotely. I am a part of that group, and I know that it has been challenging to navigate my first few weeks of college strictly through Zoom.

If you are in the same position as I am, or even if you just want to embrace some new habits for the new Q-Flex learning model Quinnipiac has adopted, here are some tips that have helped me remain balanced that I hope will help you, too. ~Kelsey Paul

Create a schedule within your schedule

We all have a predetermined schedule outlining the classes we are enrolled in and when they meet synchronously. However, the time we dedicate to classes outside of the scheduled meetings is at our disposal, so it is helpful to budget time for homework and any other obligations you might have. It might also be helpful to print out the syllabus for each class you’re taking and write down important due dates so you don’t forget. I also like to write down my goals for the day on my whiteboard in the morning and check them off as I go. Doing so reminds me that I’m closer to my objectives and prevents me from forgetting what I have to do.

 

Take breaks as you work

Design by Michael Clement

I have found that sitting down to complete four hours of homework at once is draining and hinders me from producing my best work. Complete an assignment or two and offset that work with a short break. I like to relax with whatever book I’m reading or watch an episode of “Criminal Minds,” depending on what I feel like doing that day. Whatever you choose, allow yourself to do something for at least a few minutes that keeps you balanced so you don’t lose all motivation

 

Go to virtual clubs/meetings/events

Being at home while your friends are on campus can be extremely difficult when it comes to getting involved and meeting new people. Thankfully, most organizations, clubs and even some events are adapting to these unprecedented times by offering virtual options. So, if you’re concerned about being able to join co-curricular activities you were interested in pre-COVID-19, fear not. Head over to Do You QU, sign in with your Quinnipiac credentials, and browse through the “Events” and “Organizations” sections to find extracurriculars that interest you. There’s something for everyone, and this is a great way to meet new people.

 

Re-watch recorded lectures and class meetings, even if you were present for class

The experience of learning virtually is drastically different than being physically present in a classroom for a lecture and may affect your material comprehension if remote learning isn’t your preferred mode of study. Many professors, though not all, are recording Zoom meetings and lectures for access at your convenience. This is a perk that in-person learning doesn’t have — use it to your advantage. I like to take notes before and during class and enhance them by viewing the recorded class again, if possible. Everyone has different study preferences, but if you’re like me and need that additional content review after synchronous class meetings, this is certainly an advantage of having class on Zoom.

 

Hold yourself accountable

Learning remotely, or at least partially remotely, may seem like the greatest inconvenience yet, since you’re missing out on the traditional classroom benefits. However, you may be grateful for it later on when you have a job that requires excellent time management and organizational skills. Take responsibility for your own obligations by setting manageable goals for yourself in addition to creating a schedule. I like to write these down somewhere visible near my workspace, so I can remind myself of my long-term and short-term objectives. By being proactive, you can effectively allot time for each assignment while also leaving time for yourself to unwind.

By being proactive, you can effectively allot time for each assignment while also leaving time for yourself to unwind.”

— Kelsey Paul

Communicate with family members

If you’re learning from home like me, you probably have family members around, and if they’re also working or in a meeting, the noise may be distracting. I have found that communicating with them beforehand and exchanging schedules prevents unanticipated disruptions. Also, if you’re in a Zoom meeting and others are nearby, use headphones so you can remain focused. It’s also important to spend time with them now while you can since it isn’t every semester we can learn from home.

 

Keep in touch with friends

Connecting with friends in a time like this is important. Whether you have friends who are also home and learning remotely, or have friends on campus who you can FaceTime or text, make sure you keep in touch with the people you care about in addition to focusing on your education. Learning at home means most of your endeavors — studying, watching a movie, or even just relaxing— are solitary when they may have once been spent awith others, and you may be feeling lonely. Netflix Party is an excellent way to watch movies or shows in a socially distant manner with the friends who you’re not currently around.