Last week marked the first full week of online courses that will last the rest of the semester. At this point, you may have already started receiving links to websites titled “Tips and Tricks to Mastering Online Classes!” But not all students learn the same way or need the same kind of support during this switch to the digital classroom.

As a student who is in the same boat as you, I would like to offer you my “tips and tricks.” Hopefully, this advice will offer a more peer response to some of the questions you might be asking yourself.

  1. Budgeting Your Time

This is tip #1 on every list out there, and for good reason. If you can’t keep on track, then you’re going to miss deadlines, which will ultimately lower your grade. So, how can you actually keep on track? Lots of people keep planners and calendars, which is a great strategy if you’re a visual learner. The act of writing down the schedule will help you remember. But, if you’re like me and an audio/tactile learner, a schedule may just end up forgotten in a bag or on the desk. If writing down your schedule isn’t working for you, try putting in phone notifications to ring when it’s time to start or stop working. I have also found success by downloading an hour tracker app to my phone. Usually these apps let you track billable hours for clients if you work from home, but many of these apps will let you put in a set number of hours you plan on working at a given time and will alert you when it’s time to start and stop.

  1. Reduce Distractions – Including Your Parents

Now that you’re stuck at home, you’re probably surrounded by countless distracting things. Pets, devices, the pile of clothes at the end of your bed. The distractions are endless, and among them are also your parents. Whether you’re a first year or a graduating senior, at this point you’ve hopefully found your own unique study grove. That could be sitting down and plowing through for hours on end, or taking lots of Instagram breaks in-between tasks. But our guardians don’t always see the merit in our study habits. And, while their input is usually well meaning, it may cause you the student further distraction and stress trying to meet their standards for academia. Now, I’m not suggesting that you start a fight and slam your door on your parent or guardian, but don’t be afraid to study in the way that is most effective for you.

  1. Be Kind to Yourself & Take Breaks

Let doing your school work be an enjoyable experience (easier said than done, I know). Make your space cozy, grab that blanket, light a candle (if you enjoy that), play music you can still focus to. Take periodic breaks, check your phone, and go outside (or just stand by an open window, you live your best life). Reward yourself for good grades and staying on task. And most of all, utilize your network of classmates and faculty. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Because this is all pretty weird and stressful, and you deserve to remind yourself that you are not in this alone.

I hope this was helpful to some of you. Everyone, please stay safe and healthy, don’t go out in large crowds, and be sure to wash and sanitize your hands frequently. I wish you all the best.