5 Surprising Things That Helped Me Cope With Online University In Ontario

This essay article is part of a Narcity Media series. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Narcity Media.

The transition from in-person classes to online learning has been a difficult time of adjustment for students in Ontario — and beyond.

I struggled to balance my classes and maintain my sanity as the change in environment drastically set me back as a student.

Online and in-person learning are two different playing fields, and I knew I had to improve my habits before my grades suffered badly.

If you’re a student struggling to stay on track or have a severe case of Zoom fatigue, here are five things that have seriously improved my approach to online learning.

1. Renovate your space

It is essential to have a dedicated space to study when you are at home.

Instead of the classroom, we need to use our imagination to create a space for doing homework and listening to lectures. I had limited physical space to separate my workplace from my bedroom, but since I was also struggling to study away from home due to the winter blues and the pandemic, I knew that I had to adapt.

I renovated my bedroom into a comfortable – but not too relaxing – sanctuary suitable for a student who also needs to relax after hours spent online.

I have a desk area where everything from textbooks, notes, highlighters, etc. is organized at my disposal. I listen to lectures and do my homework away from bed, lest I destroy the vibrations and ensure enough sunlight in my bedroom to keep me grounded. I have created a balance that suits my lifestyle and needs as a student by turning my bedroom into a study space.

2. Contact others when needed

Through virtual learning, there is a loss of social contact. Reaching out to others has been challenging, whether it’s chatting with peers or interacting socially between teachers and students during office hours. However, seeking support from the people around you is key to surviving online learning.

As a very shy person who finds it difficult to approach others, I have found it helpful to use my school email, Zoom private messaging, and creating chat messages to ask questions . Response time varies by individual, but by putting yourself forward and communicating with others, you’re already a head start in taking charge of your learning.

3. Forget about multitasking

Unfortunately, multitasking is nearly impossible to accomplish with good results. I admit to being on my phone browsing social media when I should be paying attention to the conference.

Yet, I saw how it was affecting my attention span and my grades and decided that this lifestyle was no longer for me. I now remove all distractions from my study area. When I’m in class, I focus on writing my notes and even go so far as to install website blockers on my laptop and phone to curb cravings and improve my productivity.

Another way multitasking can appear is through homework. Stick to one thing, complete the task at hand, and move on to the next – no need to do it all at once.

4. Improve time management skills

Staring at a computer screen all day is not ideal for anyone. I suffered from eyestrain and headaches because I was constantly on call and doing homework nonstop. It’s tiring and numbing, benefiting no one despite the work invested in school projects.

I made sure to schedule all the exact times needed for online teaching in my physical planner and online calendar to solve this problem. I then schedule breaks between classes to avoid my laptop and stretch or eat something.

It may seem like a small thing, but it has had a positive impact on me and reduced the amount of stress my body experiences from being in front of a computer all day.

Jenn Kasiama thinks going out is key to staying productive online.jenn kasiama

5. Go out

One of the best ways to recharge your batteries while “going to college” online is to get outside. I spent time with my friends and family when possible. I spent time alone in nature. I read books.

The connection with people and the real life experiences gave me the psychological energy I needed to follow the online learning.

What you do outside of class is just as important as what you do during it. Be with other people who can relate to your stress — they’re probably going through their own version of it too — and by talking about it, you might get to a point where you can laugh about it. Sharing with others is key to helping you prepare to come back online.

The thing about “living” online is that it’s easy to forget there’s still a great “life” outside of your laptop. For me, being engaged in activities and strategies that reminded me of this helped me tremendously to cope.

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