While many people were a little unsure about their online courses this year, I couldn’t wait! I was looking forward to working from home. I could do all my class work without leaving my room and I could work my class schedule around my day instead of the other way around. Who wouldn’t want to do their homework in their free time and attend class in their pajamas?
And then the year hit full swing, and online classes quickly got monotonous. There were no after-school clubs, sporting events, or even other students to endure the harrowing school day with you. Everything I thought I couldn’t miss, I suddenly became nostalgic. I hadn’t realized how much school spirit and my classmates contributed to my motivation.
While we can’t quite replicate the usual school environment at home, we can at least work with the environments we already find ourselves in and prepare for the weeks ahead. Here are some tips I’ve used to stay motivated and happy while taking classes at home.
Have a morning routine
Even if you have nowhere to go, it’s always good to make a habit of preparing yourself for a productive day. Set your alarm clock to wake up at a decent hour, drink a cup of coffee, or walk your dog. Your morning routine doesn’t have to be special or elaborate, it just has to be something that makes you want to get out of bed. Here are some additional ideas:
- Read a few chapters of an exciting book
- Get ready for the day with your favorite playlist
- Call your friends and talk like you would on a regular school morning
- Start with a mentally stimulating activity that you enjoy, such as writing or playing an instrument.
- Go on a bike ride
Create a positive workspace
You might not exactly have your own home office, but designating a workspace will help boost your productivity and focus. Find a quiet corner in your living room, bedroom or kitchen and use it only for working. This will help you get into the school spirit and keep you motivated to study. It might even be nice to hang a schedule or post-it reminders on it.
- Decorate your workspace. Have fun!
- Keep your laptop plugged in and ready to use on your work surface
- Make sure it is an area with good Wi-Fi
Take frequent brakes
Nothing will quite ruin your motivation like overworking yourself. Be sure to take a lunch break and find time to relax. Taking breaks will allow you to be more productive and make your school work less overwhelming. It may be a good idea to exercise or take a reading break in the middle of the day.
Get the job done ASAP
Your online homework will add up quick, especially if you take difficult courses. Take advantage of your extra free time and get a head start, even when you feel like you have plenty of time. You will always be glad you did later. Here are some tips to stay one step ahead.
- Communicate with your teachers
- Check your email frequently
- Write down a to-do list at least weekly
- Check your program for changes
Start an online study group with classmates
Learning new material on your own can be a lot harder than it looks. You don’t have anyone else asking questions or participating in conferences with you. Try starting an online study group by emailing your classmates. Of course, most of them won’t be interested, but even if one or two respond, you’ll have found some motivated peers to work with this semester.
leave your office
It’s a bit contradictory to tip number 2, but on days when you feel exhausted and unmotivated, change your workspace. Work on your essays on your back porch. Graphic functions in a socially distanced cafe. Whatever works for you! You are no longer limited to the traditional classroom environment. Enjoy it while it lasts.
And don’t take your school work! Everyone spent more time indoors this year. But just because we can’t meet up with friends doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the sun yet. Go on a hike with members of your household, jog around your neighborhood, or have a picnic in your backyard. Staying inside all day working gets anyone down. Stay happy and motivated by exploring your surroundings.
Social Distancing Outdoor Activities:
- Bird watching
- Farmers markets
- In-car movies
This school year may not be the one you imagined, but it has the potential to be one you will remember fondly. How do you plan to make this school year the best it can be?