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Managing Challenges of Online Semester

Managing Challenges of Online Semester

Some tips that can be helpful to you if you are struggling with making the most of your online classes.

  • Posted on 02-Oct-2020 , by Shivani Manchanda

Online classes can be fun. You could be dozing, brushing your teeth or even snoozing while the class is on. With camera off and mic off you can literally do what you wish - after all who will ever know? However, we all know too much of the fun and a low grade or FR may not be far behind. So if you are struggling with making the most of your online classes that this pandemic has thrown our way then here are some tips that can be helpful to you.

Setting the Stage:

  1. Put up your timetable where it is clearly visible to you and your family members. This will ensure that everybody in your family knows when the classes are. Set reminders — obvious but simple. Since you are at home and a lot more than normal might be going on, stay committed to your timetable such that you can maximise the opportunity to learn and crack this term.
  2. Create a small study space for you to attend classes every day. A routine will give you a structure and make it feel slightly more class like. Make sure there is plenty of light in that area and there is no reflection on your screen. Pick a chair which is ergonomic, otherwise those long hours will begin to tell on your posture.
  3. Invest in a headset so that you can listen to your lectures uninterrupted. The headset will also ensure that your sibling or parents are not disturbed while they work from home or follow their own routine. Be sure to establish a routine of sanitising your headset and computer screen regularly.
  4. Before starting class, keep water and a small snack close at hand. Since online classes require greater concentration, it is important that you don’t fall asleep or become groggy while listening to your lectures. Try to stay focussed and occasionally sip water to keep yourself alert.
  5. Adopt a short ritual or a routine that you can do just before the class begins. For instance while you were on campus running to the mess, or walking to the class puts you mentally in the space for learning. It could be something as simple as changing out of night clothes, washing your face, doing a few flexing exercises. A ritual alerts your brain that it needs to get into learning mode and also signals to your family that you are now in “class”. So develop one for yourself that will help you to become alert.

During The Class:

  1. It is easy to start feeling like a fly on the wall as nobody really notices you or talks to you in the class. So make your attendance count and ask questions whenever you don’t understand a concept. By asking questions, you make sure that you are listening properly and trying to understand. 
  2. Taking notes is as important now as it was while you were going to class in LCH or lab. Jot your notes down during class and afterwards too. By taking notes  regularly, you will find that revision will not pile up for the last moment.
  3. During a pandemic of this size, where the world is not just what it used to be, it is normal to feel anxiety and stress. If negative thoughts creep during the class, write them down at the back of your notebook and attend to them later. But by writing your thoughts down, you release them and prevent them from repeating themselves constantly. 
  4. Take frequent breaks from the screen as watching it for hours may cause eye fatigue and lower back pain. Do small and frequent exercises of your wrists, fingers and eyes. Take care of your health and make sure you don’t ignore it. 
  5. Make sure each of your friends attends classes and motivate each other. When you join a class, look out for the others and ping anyone who has not joined the class yet. 

After The Class: 

  1. The Professors are already posting the lectures online so do try and stay up to date with them and try and not let them pile up too much.  
  2. Join hands with friends and form a small group to study together online. The huge class WhatsApp group can be a bit much to handle, not to mention disorienting. A small group or community is really useful to make sure that all of you are studying and understanding properly. Do consider having a small study circle in which you can ask your doubts and talk to each other. Choose friends with whom you can be honest and meet online regularly. Then in the smaller group, hold each other accountable such that all of you stay on track and use the time judiciously.
  3. It is really important to observe nature, exercise for fun and take up some fun hobbies during this pandemic. Stress and anxiety can creep up surreptitiously and become chronic. A regular fun way of managing stress can keep you in a better emotional space. 
  4. Keep up with friends from the campus at least once a week. It is easy to let ego come in the way and not reach out to a friend because they did not bother to do so. Give your older friends/wingmates the benefit of doubt and check in on them just in case they are going through troubled times. Connect with at least 1 or 2 classmates and friends in a meaningful way such that you can develop a richer relationship than was possible while you were busy on campus with various activities. Shared memories and experiences will help you rebuild and bond better once this dreaded pandemic is over and we are all back on campus. 
  5. Be compassionate to yourself and to friends and family. All of us are going through very difficult times and it is easy to fall into the trap of taking frustration and anger on each other. So if somebody did not do as you desired, cut them some slack or look the other way. Try and be mindful of the fact that each of us has some good and some bad days. Sometimes you may not get the support you need because the other person is struggling too. None of us really had a map or a heads up about what was to come so it is important that you dig in to your mental strength and support yourself and if possible support others as well. 

It is easy to get angry, frustrated during these challenging times but by finding ways to channel those negative emotions it can help you navigate these uncharted waters by keeping physical and emotional well being in mind. So please stay strong, compassionate to yourself and to others and forgive yourself any mistakes you make along the way.