Survival Guide for “Zoom University”

By: Elizabeth Raiff

Step 1: Set your alarm and get yourself a cup of coffee.

Setting your alarm sets you up for success. Choose a time that works for you and hold yourself accountable. You may feel tempted to sleep in everyday, since you’re taking your classes at home and can stay in your pajamas all day. However, try to get in a healthy routine of getting up early and getting dressed, just as you would at school, because it can help you feel a sense of normalcy in these unprecedented times. Mornings are a great time to be productive, so use them to start your homework or get some exercise before your classes. If you’re a coffee drinker like me, and not necessarily a morning person, I recommend starting your day with a cup to give you the energy you need to conquer your day!

Step 2: Plan your week

It’s Monday morning and you’re dreading the start of the school week. One way to make the week ahead a little more bearable and less overwhelming is by creating a schedule. This is important because it will help you keep track of when your assignments are due and what you need to prioritize on your to-do list. One of the tips that works best for me is to have a calendar on the wall that shows when all my exams and big projects are due. At the beginning of each semester, I take some time to look at the syllabi for all my classes and write down every due date in my calendar. This way, it’s easy to plan my week ahead of time and I won’t miss assignments!

Step 3: Hold yourself accountable 

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you’re not a student. Remember, you’re enrolled at Zoom University! Online classes are not a freebee to slack off, so you must treat them as seriously as when we’re in person. Don’t miss assignments, be on time to your virtual classes, and make an effort each day to succeed academically. You may need to set reminders on your phone, use your calendar more frequently than you would in a typical semester, or post sticky notes around the house to remind you of due dates. Figure out a strategy that works for you and finish this semester strong.

Step 4: Turn off your phone and get to work!

Once you’ve finished your coffee and planned your week, it’s time to get to work! It’s important to limit your distractions, especially during your zoom sessions. Try to find a quiet work space, turn off your phone, and silence your computer notifications. If your house is a little chaotic like mine, maybe try talking to your family about how they can help you succeed by establishing some “quiet hours” during your classes to help you focus.

Step 5: Eat healthy snacks and plan your meals

It can be hard not to snack when your commute to school is five feet from the fridge. However, it’s important that you do your best to choose healthy snacks while you work on your computer all day. This is because when you fuel your body with nutritious food, you will have more energy than if you are constantly snacking on chips and sugary treats. Carrots and hummus, bananas and peanut butter, and yogurt and granola are all great options. Also, be sure to give yourself  work-free lunch and dinner breaks. Meals are a great time to decompress and take yourself away from your schoolwork. Giving yourself these breaks will allow you to re-energize and be more productive during the times that you are working.

Step 6: Communicate with your professors

Since you haven’t met many of your professors this semester in person, try to make an extra effort to get to know them. Send them an email now and again, ask questions during class, or attend their virtual office hours. If your camera is always off and your mic is muted during class,  your professors may never know who you are! So go the extra mile and introduce yourself, it’ll be worth it.

Step 7: Relax and get to sleep early

After a productive day on the computer, it’s time to relax! Turn off the bright screen, read a book, take your dog for a walk. Do something that you enjoy! Don’t forget to get to bed at a reasonable time, because even though you’re home for the semester, it’s still a school night.


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