By Sarah Fitch
I’m not the first to say this year is like no other, especially this school year. Many of us have been in school for a few weeks, but we’re still trying to grasp what is and isn’t working for us. Fortunately, it’s early enough in the semester that there is still time to adopt helpful and responsible, organizational habits to optimize your learning during these trying times.
These are the tips and tricks I adopted last April which made me a better online and in-person student altogether.
1. Get out of bed and start working
Honestly, online classes seemed very optional at first. My inner procrastinator reared its ugly head when the structure of waking up and going to class went away. I changed my course of action once I realized I had a crazy amount of homework. Now, I set alarms for 7:00 a.m. and 7:10 a.m., every day. This way, I have a backup plan if I stop the alarm and fall back asleep – which has happened before. I give myself an hour to wake up, eat breakfast and brush my teeth. Then, it is time to work.
2. Keep a planner
Keeping both a digital and printed planner is an effective way to remember things. Carmen uses a convenient digital calendar to organize assignments. However, keeping a physical planner, going through each of your syllabi and writing out assignments on their due date helps store the information in your long-term memory.
3. Create a daily to do list
Most planners have a convenient feature of several to do pages; these are helpful when you want to do more than just schoolwork. We’re all pre-professionals and many of us have internships, are on subcommittees, hold executive board positions or have work to do for our PRactice clients. Scheduling everything you want to do in one day moves you closer to actually doing it. Plus, crossing off a to do item is one of the best feelings EVER!
4. Separate class work into different folders
The documents on my laptop were shamefully cluttered last March. I took the time to separate everything into its own folder. A folder for “Strategic Communication Principles 2019”. One for “Strategic Media Planning 2020”. Even one for “Communication in Society 2017”. This makes searching for a specific concept you learned two years ago much easier to find. Everything is a reference, therefore do not delete it!
5. Take a break
Believe it or not, it’s easy to forget to take breaks when you’re working hard. The mindset of working nonstop until you’re done will cause you to burn out. I set alarms which forces myself to take 15-20 minute breaks every day. Taking a break is important but so is getting back to work and not procrastinating! Set another alarm if it’s effective.
I hope these tips are helpful in some way. My routine may not work for everyone, but it is a good place to start.