Navigating the New Semester and Thriving in the Online Learning Environment

by | Jan 02, 2024

By Selena Adetunji, CITL Marketing Intern.

Welcome to a new year and a new semester! For some of you, it has been a while since you stepped into a classroom albeit an online one. You’re wondering how you’re going to balance school, work, family, and other obligations. Whether you’re new to online learning or you have some experience, it’s always great to prepare and try to establish a routine ahead of the start of the semester. Here are some strategies for helping you thrive in the online learning environment:

Establish A Productive Learning Environment 

Step away from the comfort of the living room couch or the softness of your bed! You need to establish a productive learning environment when it comes to school and doing work in an environment that you equate with rest, will only distract you from the tasks at hand. Find what works for you and will keep you focused. This could be your desk, an office space, the library, a coffee shop, etc. 

Keep Your Established Routines 

Going back to school can seem jarring, especially in an online environment, but finding a routine and sticking to it is key to success. Think back to your old school schedule or look online for school hours and set time away for your class work. If you have a break during work, write down the assignments you need to complete before the end of the day. Every Monday morning, create a list of “to dos” that need to be done by the end of the week. 

Setting Deadlines And Completing Assignments On Time 

When you get your syllabi, organize all of your major assignments into a master calendar so that you can stay on top of deadlines. This allows you to visualize your time and plan accordingly. The Pomodoro technique is a great starter for learning how to manage your time. Also, build in extra time for assignments in case things don’t go according to plan. Maybe you there’s a big project at work that needs your attention and you may not have time to focus on a particular assignment that week. Anything can come up, but already having extra time set aside just in case takes a load off your schedule. 

Engage in Active Learning 

Interact with what you are learning. Actively taking notes and revising them as you go is a great way to take in information. Creating a study guide for each chapter or after each module will also allow you to freshen up your memory on ideas you might have forgotten. Maybe taking notes isn’t your thing and that’s okay! Reading articles that pertain to what you are learning or watching YouTube videos is another great way of keeping the information you learn present in your mind. 

Seek Support 

Don’t hesitate to reach out to your instructor asking for an extension if you have a big work project that’s due or a family emergency or need help understanding the material or an assignment. Communication is key. On top of that, if you need additional help outside of the classroom, utilizing your school’s tutoring services, writing centers, etc. is an additional resource you can use to improve your skills. 

Practice Self-Care and Remember to Reward Yourself

It can be a lot juggling other responsibilities on top of school. Finding ways to reward yourself is key to not letting possible stress build up over time. A break could look like getting up and taking a walk, maybe scrolling through your phone for a bit, or playing a quick game. Anything that can give you space from your schoolwork and indulge in what keeps you motivated. Taking time for self care is important as well! 

For more tips on juggling school and work, check out our blog post on “How to Balance Work and a Graduate Program” if you have any concerns regarding being able to handle both.