New year, new learning style

The school year is starting back up and that means juggling classes, work, clubs and a personal life. With the COVID-19 pandemic still underway and the recognition of dangers in relation to in-person classes and a crowded campus, many schools have decided to take the first quarter of classes online.

With this change brings a new way of learning. It can be difficult to succeed in one’s classes during a fully online quarter. Students may struggle for any number of reasons — from this being our first quarter at a college to taking the summer off only to have to get back into the swing of online learning. However, there is no need to fear. There are ways to succeed even in this unprecedented time and abnormal learning environment.

Keeping a schedule

This might seem obvious but after completing one quarter online I have found that this is key. Think about how your past quarters have gone — you get up at a certain time, go to class and have time set aside to do homework. Keep this schedule going even during this virtual quarter. Even if your classes are not meeting at a specific time, setting aside this time to complete the work is key. It will give you a sense of normalcy during a time that is quite the opposite. 

Separate comfort and school

Going to class and not having to leave bed sounds like a dream come true and, yes, it can be very comfortable. However, it is not best for you mentally. Doing school work in the place that you also sleep confuses your brain into thinking that the place you sleep is now a place to have your brain going at full power mode. 

An article titled “Don’t Study in Bed” from Pepperdine University addresses this very issue. 

“Working or doing homework in bed will reduce one’s focus because most people tend to associate their beds with comfort and sleep. Doing such activities in bed can lead to a deviation of the brain to become more lazy and possibly fall asleep.” So, if you have a separate space for doing school work, it will create that divide in your brain of “this space is for work” and “this space is for comfort,” in turn, your productivity in school work will improve.

Take breaks

When going onto campus for classes you have breaks in between, whether it be the time it takes to walk to your next class or a lengthy period to truly relax. When engaging in online classes it is easy to forget to take a break from your studies. Go make yourself a snack and take a mental break around the same time every day. You and your brain will be glad you did.

Keep in contact with your professors

The golden rule of college: keep in contact with your professors. Doing that now is even more important than ever. Professors understand that this is a change for us, remember that it’s also  a change for them. With that in mind, this is a learning curve for all of us, and they are still there for you to help you throughout the quarter. Many have office hours via zoom so you can still have that face to face interaction that you would normally have with in-person office hours. Furthermore, if your classes are doing live zoom meetings with everyone don’t be afraid to ask questions! 


We are not built to sit for hours at a time in the same position, so getting out of the house and exercising will do your whole body good. Going to your nearby YMCA to utilize that Y membership or just walking around your own neighborhood. Even on days when the weather is bad, you can find quick 15 minute workouts on Youtube to get your body moving. When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins in the brain which emit positive feelings throughout the body, and who doesn’t want a positive feeling when going through school?

If you are feeling stressed hopefully you try some of these tips to get through this new school year. Some of these might work for you and others might not but figuring out what works for you takes time. Once you know what works you will recognize a difference in how you feel mentally and physically which, in turn, will translate into your schoolwork.