We’re Back in School! What Changed? What’s the New Normal?
The 2021 Fall Semester is officially underway. Everyone has been anticipating getting back to normal, and in some regards, we are. Things are beginning to open up. However, the COVID-19 Delta variant is still a major concern, which makes readjusting to school life all the more complicated. No worries, we got you! No matter where you are in your educational journey, here are a few things to keep in mind in the coming school year, whether you have classes online or offline.
Online: Keeping Focus
As we’ve seen from 2020, doing school at home can be frustrating due to the potential for distractions. Many of you may already be familiar with ways to focus, but I cannot stress this tip enough: Keep your study spot only your study spot. If you routinely watch Netflix while lying on your bed, don’t try to read for class there. The result will be: falling asleep or falling asleep watching Netflix.
When in your Zoom classes, make sure your attention is focused on what’s being discussed in class. You might have your phone, tablet, or anything else available to you at home. Turn them off. It’s tempting to do as you would in a normal classroom, maybe set them to the side. But unless you’re expecting an important phone call, like a job interview or family emergency, turn it off. I know this is a harsh assessment many of you may not agree with, but zoom classes can be extremely difficult to learn from and you may not always know how relevant the material will be to your grade.
There’s also the subtle desire to treat a virtual class as though it’s not a true class. Try to check yourself for this. See if you blow off assignments more often or skip readings assigned more often than not.
If you don’t have Zoom classes, good for you! Remember to social distance! (See more below)
Both: Keeping Schedules
Taking classes online is a lot like being homeschooled. You can choose the hours you want to do the bulk of your work. You don’t have to wake up two hours before school starts to get to school on time. But that doesn’t mean you should do whatever whenever. Find a routine that will allow you to get all your work done, and stick to it. Consistency will make it easier for your brain to differentiate between “school mode” and “relax mode”.
Make a to-do list or agenda.
This will help keep you organized and may force you to actually create time to actually complete part of the agenda. If an item is absolutely urgent, complete that one first and continue down the list in order of urgency. For long term projects, try to break it down into identifiable parts and complete one part each day or every other day as your schedule allows. This creates a sense of completion and the satisfaction that comes from completing a task. A lot of people have fatigue from unfinished tasks which serves as a deterrent to completing future tasks.
Offline: Keeping Away
Don’t hug people. Sad but true. You never know who might be a carrier. In fact, you could be a carrier and not know about it. Even if you and everyone around you look healthy, take precautions. Keep in mind social distancing. If you do have to socialize, try to do it outdoors, if possible. Try to stay in your social bubble with the people you are quarantining or social distance with, or anyone else you know who has been applying social distancing guidelines.
Both: Keeping Positive
Yes, there’s a pandemic.
Yes, some events have been canceled.
Yes, things have changed.
However, stewing on the negatives doesn’t solve anything. We’re already on the second lap, so don’t be discouraged. Live, learn, and adapt. We’ll make it through together.