Effective Self-management in the New Normal of Virtual Classes

Beginning college is overwhelming as it is—being in a new environment, trying to meet people, and finding your place. The ongoing COVID pandemic makes it even more complicated and intimidating. The virtual classes are the new normal. Some students are attending these from home or apartment while others are attending these from their dormitories. This is a different experience, and students are trying to adjust to the virtual setting. Apparently, the restrictions and online classes will continue for several more months. Here are some tips to help students with their transition to virtual classes.

#1 Develop a Routine

There is no longer the need to wake up early, dress up, and head to class. You can just roll out of bed or attend class in bed. However, you should still try and engage in a regular routine. Get out of bed a little early, dress up, and then sit in class. It will help you be more attentive, prevent the piling up of work, and make you understand the content better. Figure out your routine for the day—have a nice breakfast, work out, go out for a stroll!

#2 Get to Know Your Professors

Yes, with online education you may feel like it is more than enough to attend lectures and call it a day. But that is not enough. Send an email to your professors telling them about why you joined the class and what you expect to get out of it. Try and make it a point to attend office hours, introduce yourself, and get to know them. Professors are more than willing to answer your questions, clarify doubts, and help you out. They know that online education is tough for everyone and there might be difficulties along the way. Don’t forget to convey any problem to them through proper channels. Moreover, you never know when you might need a mentor in the future for advice on various issues and having a professor to guide you through definitely helps.

#3 Avoid Distractions

Are you someone who gets distracted easily by a text message or your surroundings? With the virtual setting, this issue is bound to get more serious. Surrounded by food, phone, and the comfort of your bed, it is easy to just turn your video off and indulge. I would recommend that you turn on your video during the lecture and focus. That will prohibit you from picking up your phone to respond to that text message and treating your lecture as background noise. Try and keep your phone at a distance in the middle of the lecture and think that you are in an actual lecture hall where the professor can see you.

#4 Do Not Expect It to Be Easy

Just because everything is all online, it does not mean that the work will get easy or less. Your classes will be just as rigorous and challenging if not more. There will still be the same amount of work. In hindsight, it gets more difficult to be on track with your work as you may not have a friend in a class reminding you to submit an assignment on time. The challenge of time-management and self-motivation makes online education more difficult.

#5 Create a Productive Work Environment

Whether you are in a dorm room or your own apartment, the virtual environment has definitely taken a toll on every student’s productivity. With it being more difficult to go to libraries, you do not have a defined space that stimulates your motivation. Everyone has a different work style, so I would recommend that you find your own place. Whether it is outside on a field, in a coffee shop, or with a group of your friends, find an atmosphere that inspires you without pulling your attention away from your studies. Be positive, set a target, and then look forward to that break!

About the Author: 

Lavanya Agarwal is a sophomore at the University of Virginia. She is planning to major either in Commerce or Economics with a minor in Psychology. At UVA, she is involved with Profit with Purpose, Student Council, Bharatiya Council, and Salsa Club. She loves to explore different places and travel. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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