All classes have gone online here at NC State. This comes with a lot of inconveniences, but also with a lot of advantages.
As anyone who has taken an online class before knows, not having a rigid, in-person class schedule means that one must set their own schedule — and even more difficult than that, must stick to it. Many students have difficulty with this in a major way, while others are only slightly affected. All students will, at one point or another, forget or put off an online lecture. However affected you might be by having to create and stick to your own schedule, I will share some steps and tricks that I have personally used to organize (and stick to) my class schedule.
Use Google Calendar
I first start by creating a Google Calendar schedule for when I want to study or do homework. Just in case you haven’t already, make sure that you schedule when your Zoom classes take place and include the link in the calendar description. This keeps you from not having to search through your email for the link right before class starts. I find times throughout my schedule that I fill with an hour here and there to do homework, study, and the like. It is important, however, to schedule frequent breaks. In addition to this, I have also found it helpful to create a to-do list for the day, containing specific things that I want to get done for classes.
Have a “Stress-Less Booklet”
I keep a little planner that I call my “stress-less booklet” on my desk at home or in my bag if I go to the library. Within this booklet, I write all of the due dates for homework as well as dates of tests and readings for each class which requires them. I got this booklet at Target for about ten dollars and it has been indispensable in both keeping me organized and punctual, as well as generally sane.
Accept Mistakes and Uncertainty…
The biggest thing that I have taken away from this semester is that no one knows exactly how to adapt to this pandemic and new class delivery method. Students and professors alike continue to make mistakes, adapt, and improve upon acclimating to this new way of teaching and learning. It is important to note that we will all make mistakes and come up against challenges either due directly or indirectly to this change.
…Especially With Zoom
There is a sort of law of 2020 which has become apparent to me and I think to all of us: You will have technical difficulties with Zoom which will, in some way, interrupt or completely ruin lectures for either you or everyone. This law has proven itself to be unavoidably true for me, as I am sure that it has for most of us. I find that my professors in some sense, whether they have specifically stated it or not, know of the existence of this law. So please, keep trying to go to lectures and participate instead of just watching the recording only (unless that is specifically better for you) even though Zoom can be frustrating or downright infuriating.
Remember: You Are Not Alone
It is not only important for us to know of our shared struggles and difficulties due to this pandemic, but it is vital that we discuss them in some way with one another. If only for the purpose of reminding us that we are all experiencing them. It is easy to think that you are the only one dropping a Zoom call due to a poor internet connection, or finding yourself lonely without having classes to get you out of the house. Some of us prefer taking classes totally online rather than going in person (myself included), but I have come to believe that we are among the very few. Therefore, based what I have seen and heard, the vast majority of people (and probably those whom you know) would prefer to be on campus and interacting in the classroom setting. Many of them, I reckon, are not very happy being stuck at home all day.
One of the most important things to remember this semester is that you are not the only one. Not the only one feeling lonely, not the only one adapting to this new lifestyle, and not the only one worrying about those around you.
So do your best, be patient with yourself, and stay in contact with those who matter to you.
Photography credit: Jason Perry/Goodnight Scholars Program