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Adapting to Online University: 3 Tips

Over the summer months, I tried my best to hold on to any shred of hope that school would be in-person this year so that I could have a normal 4th year experience. Unfortunately, things did not work out that way. Even though my University has adapted a blended model, myself along with many other students still do not get in-person experiences. Although I was extremely bummed out about this, I tried my best to stay positive and look on the bright side. Having all online classes meant no more waking up for 8:30am classes, no more rushing to catch the city bus because I slept in, no more getting caught in the rain and sitting drenched in my lectures, and best of all, no more walking outside in the freezing snow. In the winter months, I can sit all cozied up in my bed with a warm cup of tea while watching all my lectures – this truly sounds so great! By reflecting on things like these, I was feeling a lot better about online school. However, adapting has been much more difficult than I thought… 

Aside from the obvious hardship of not being able to see other people and socialize in person, online school has presented me with a problem I never thought I would encounter – a true lack of time. In my past University years when classes were in-person, I would always complain about “not having time” for all the assignments and tests thrown my way, but realistically I was over exaggerating. Now with online school, when I say I don’t have time for everything, I truly mean it. I feel like I am on an endless cycle of waking up, doing schoolwork, and going to bed. I feel more stressed and overwhelmed than ever. Every day there is a new assignment I must complete, or a lecture to watch, or a discussion post to create. Online school was proving to be much more difficult than I imagined, and I just felt terrible. However, I knew I had to somehow get myself back on track and feeling a bit better again. It was time for me to adapt and take control of my online schooling. Here are the top three things that have helped me adapt to this online schooling model:

  1. The first thing I did was make use of an agenda (which I had never done before). This was a life saver. It helped me reduce some stress as I felt a bit more in control and create a routine. I marked down all assignment due dates and exams well in advance. Everyday I wake up, and I write down all the tasks I must complete – then crossing them off at the end of the day is just so satisfying!
  2. Another thing I have learned to do to adapt to online school is take breaks. During the first few weeks of online school, I often found myself trying to sit down for hours and get all my work done at once, which was draining. Now, I have tried to take 30min to 1-hour breaks during my day to do something fun! I will sometimes exercise, do some yoga, read a book or just nap! After my breaks, I feel so much more refreshed and am much more productive. I have recognized that sometimes I truly just need to take a step back from school to recharge – and that’s totally ok! 
  3. Finally, I have tried to be a bit kinder to myself during this transition to online school. This new way of school is something no one saw coming. School is hard, but now seems ever harder. All I can do is try my best, as that truly is enough.