The stress of having to take an online class can not be over emphasized. I have always had a love hate relationship with it mainly because of the online discussion boards. I am currently taking three graduate online classes during this quarantine. The workload has doubled because hybrid classes can no longer meet face to face. I find myself constantly writing research papers and online discussion boards in APA format that stresses my entire existence. So, When I say I understand your pain, I do. One chilly Friday in March I was on school grounds thinking life could not be any easier. Now, I miss places on campus that I never visited. I miss sitting in the front row of class to prove that I am studious but 20 minutes into class, I am dozing off and pretending not to notice that the professor is seeing me drooling. I have a newfound appreciation for my school community. I have never been one to complain about school, I find myself often saying how ‘over it’ I am in my most dramatic fashion, but I get the job done no matter how tedious the workload is. It is safe to say that so far, I haven’t had the rare displeasure of failing a class yet. I owe it all to my alter ego, Favour Tangban, the perfectionist. So, in my own capacity I can tell you a thing or two about regulating your time to make sure that you are well ahead of all your classes and online discussion boards.
Canvas Learning Platform
If your school uses Canvas by Instructure like mine does, your online classes should be very accessible. All you have to do is learn how to navigate the learning platform. For a more connected learning experience, log in to Canvas and make sure all your courses are listed on there. There is a tab that says courses and in each course you are taking, it should have modules, syllabus, assignments, people, discussion, and calendar to show you the days and times your work is due. Pretty straight forward right? The calendar can be connected to your phone’s calendar so you know exactly when everything is due. If you have this platform and are unable to navigate its tabs, you have your student email account, make sure you shoot your IT department a brief email with your questions. If you need help with this, I will also offer my services to you — I am here to help you, anytime.
Check in with your Professors
When I gave a brief lecture during an orientation, I remember telling the new students to constantly check in with their professors. I can not over emphasize how important this is. Because we are in uncharted territory, it is important that you keep in touch with your professors via their preferred email addresses & contact information. How often should you do this you ask? As often as necessary. If you don’t understand what has been taught via the online PowerPoints & discussions, it is important that you let your professors know. If you need more time & extensions on assignments and exams, inform them. At this time, a lot of schools and a lot of professors are being very lenient and understanding about the conundrum the educational system has found itself in. Always lets your professors know where you stand. I feel the need to add that you are not the only one who will be emailing the same professor. Please make sure your reasons are genuine and make your emails short and sweet. Ambiguity during this time should be avoided as much as possible.
Zoom to the left and zoom to the right, zoom for the girl with hella good hair in the back.
Jokes aside, Zoom has become a huge life saver in trying to stay connected with lectures and group work. If you do not have it or use it, it’s important to know that the App is available. It is a video conferencing platform that users can call in using an ID to connect with their colleagues. It’s pretty easy to set up & you can get up to 40 minutes of video conferencing time for free (all my folks who like free stuff, holla). You can also decide to change your background, turn the video on or off, mute conversations, and chat with others while on a video conference. It is an easy & effective way to communicate if I do say so myself.
Days and times have all blurred together. A lot of people can not tell Monday from Friday and that’s not okay. It is important that you remember what day of the week it is and what time you’re supposed to get things done. I have fallen victim of this in the past as many of us have. I turn in my work a week to a couple days before it’s due. Because when I have a deadline to complete a task, my brain doesn’t stop tingling until I complete that task. That’s why I have to always do my work ahead of time because procrastination does not work well for me. If you need to set reminders, have deadlines on post-it notes & stick them on your wall — then do what you must to get the job done. Think of it this way, the earlier you get rid of that work, the earlier you can browse social media, do your Tik Tok videos, Instagram challenges, twitter wars, have your online Netflix parties & Zoom game nights. Give yourself an incentive — for me, I do not visit social media until my tasks are completed for the day.
Disorganization & procrastination go hand in hand. If you can not find the book you need to study to pass the test that you have to take tomorrow, chances are, you’ll do very poorly. A lot of people have various systems and ways in which they organize their school work to make sure it’s easily accessed. I keep my work in folders and binders. At home, I write all my notes in my notepad on my phone or laptop and transfer it to google drive. I use google drive because it saves my work as I go so I don’t have to come back & check if it’s still there — like Netflix does to us. It’s important that you organize yourself, and declutter your space so you can work & thrive in a stress free environment.
Regulate your time and set a work space aside
Create a space at home where you can sit comfortably and do your school work. The most important word here is ‘comfort’. If you throw comfort out the window, procrastination and disorganization sets in. I do my work from the comfort of my bed because that is where I get the most convenience. The bed is soft and the pillows are softer, the books and notes are neatly stacked beside it and I don’t have to go far to get what I need. A lot of you may have issues with this because you believe the bed is only meant for sleeping and things of that nature. Create your own space that suits you, it may be a small work table or a portion of your room dedicated to your school work.
This is what I need to learn how to do. This is for me as much as it is for you. Take deep breaths and count from one to ten when you feel overwhelmed. Get up and stretch your body so that your blood can flow properly. Sleep regularly, eat regularly, and do not over think about school work. If you do the absolute best that you can & you regulate your time, you should be well on your way to greatness.
The most important part of all of this is that you set your mind right & actually do the work. You can make use of all the resources available to you & still fail your classes. Do not be lackadaisical and do not get carried away. The world is not on a global vacation that’s infused with Tik Tok videos & Instagram challenges. It’s okay to take time off and have fun — if you follow me on social media, you know I have my share of creative fun. But education is important & I do not joke with my school work. It’s more convenient now because you don’t have to worry about driving long distances to get to classes. Everything is easily accessible from the comfort of your couch. Be committed, do the work and get the grades you deserve.
Finally, have a schedule, it helps you stay productive and up to date with everything you have to do. I have a small journal I write what I’ll be doing for the day in. It gives me structure, orderliness, and a sense of accomplishment. Lists and timetables help you understand what it is you need to do and the steps you can take to get it done.
Best of luck & let me know if this helps!
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Pictures gotten from Pinterest.