Online learning can be intense, but it’s the reality for many this coming school year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on. For most people, it’s drastically different from what they’re used to doing. Instead of being able to go onto campus and study in the library, you’re suddenly stuck at home with your computer, staring out a window while being crushed under the weight of deadlines that don’t feel as real as they did when things were in person. How can you survive in this type of environment? Here are a few tips to help you survive a semester of online learning.

Get Ahead Early

One of the joys of online courses is that they have all the content available quicker—often all the content is available at the beginning of the semester. Online courses give you more flexibility than an in-person class, so you should take advantage of this. If you complete all the day’s assignments and have extra time, work on the assignments for the next day. If you have free time on the weekends and are all caught up, start working on upcoming projects. The due dates will sneak up on you, just like they do in regular semesters, so work early to make the most of your time.

Make Connections

With your online semester, you can reach out to fellow classmates in online classroom settings. It might require that you be a little more outgoing than you’re used to, but you will benefit from forming friendships, as well as making connections with the TA and the professors. You don’t have to meet them in person to ask for help. Be willing to speak up if you have questions and go to online office hours if you need help.

Plan Breaks

Online learning can get overwhelming, especially since there’s no cut-off time. The professor might announce in the online lecture that the reading will take an hour, but you find it takes two, and you have additional homework for other classes besides. In order to maintain your sanity, plan breaks. These breaks may be as simple as going outside and walking around the block, or doing yoga for 30 minutes, but these breaks are important as they give your brain a chance to reset and reboot so you can continue working.

Online learning might be a challenge, but it can still be a good experience. By being willing to step outside your comfort zone, you foster personal growth and will become better for it.

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