Your college workload definitely does not lessen whether you are taking in-person or virtual classes. It can still be challenging to keep up with assignments and classes especially with all the distractions online i.e. getting sucked into random YouTube videos. Here are some great organizational tips for staying on top of everything while studying and taking classes online!
1. Keep two calendars or planners to keep track of school and all your other activities.
I have been keeping two calendars since starting college and it has been super helpful to make note of everything going on in my life whether it be school or club meetings. One of my calendars I specifically use to list everything I have planned for the day with the times that way I can always have a reminder right in front of me. The other calendar which I keep on my computer is where I list all the future assignments that I need to get done. I know it may seem like keeping two calendars is too much, but it makes the calendars less overwhelming to look at.
2. Create a folder on your desktop for every class you have to store assignments/handouts.
Because of virtual classes, almost every assignment or handout you receive will most likely be given to you online so there really is no need to have physical binders or folders for your classes. It’s so helpful to have folders for each class on my desktop as it makes it easy to find any assignment or handout I have received. It also avoids the possibility of you having 500+ files on your desktop making it impossible to even see your home screen. You’ll feel so much better and more organized when you clean up your desktop and make it nice and neat!
3. Bookmark tabs that you often use for your virtual classes.
It’s important to have easy access to online pages that you need which is why bookmarking is one of the greatest features of the Internet. Bookmarking allows you to see whatever pages you choose on the top of your screen so you can get to it without any hassle. It’s helpful to have your email, university website, and whatever research sites you use available to you at the touch of a button.
4. Use a website blocker to avoid distractions.
Do you find yourself constantly checking your social media or streaming TV shows instead of doing your schoolwork? There are actually some computer applications or extensions that block distracting websites for you for a certain amount of time so you can focus only on your work. Personally, I use Cold Turkey Blocker which is a Google Chrome Extension and it allows you to choose which websites you want to be blocked and set the amount of time you need the websites inaccessible to you for. I would highly recommend using one of the website blockers especially since social media and the Internet can send you on an endless spiral.
5. Create a comfortable study space.
Sometimes even being at home can be distracting. Establishing a designated study space where you live is essential for succeeding in your classes. It’s a good idea to have all of your school stuff in one area so when you’re there you know “Okay, I need to focus on class now.” Even if this just means cleaning up the desk and your room or purchasing a nice chair, it’s worth it.
6. Join an online study group.
Study groups can still happen virtually! Contact a couple people in your classes to set up a study group where you can organize a video meet up to get some of your work down. Sometimes studying with a group can help people stay on track and focus on getting what they need done. Study groups are a great part of college anyway so why not take advantage of them?
7. Take thorough notes during class on your computer or handwritten.
I have always preferred having my notes handwritten as it helps me process the information better, however taking notes on your computer is perfectly acceptable as well! Having a good set of notes to look back on for when you eventually have midterms and finals is extremely helpful and allows you to remember what you learned in each class. If you miss a class, don’t be afraid to reach out to an online classmate or the professor for notes as well.
8. Make sure to keep saving anything you’re doing on your computer and have a backup.
Imagine finishing a 10-page paper and all a sudden your computer crashes and all your work disappears. Please don’t let that happen to you so remember to keep saving all your work or backing it up somewhere so you don’t have to deal with starting over on an assignment you spent hours on. Technology isn’t perfect and sometimes it crashes so be as diligent as you can about saving and backing up everything you do for your virtual classes.
9. Reach out to your TA or professor with any questions.
It may be a little intimidating to ask your professor a question, but you’re there to learn, and asking questions actually shows the professor that you are paying attention and interested in the course material. With virtual classes, sometimes it is harder to grasp different concepts especially if the lectures are recorded so definitely don’t keep quiet if you don’t understand something.
10. Take breaks!
It is important to study and focus on school, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give yourself any breaks during the day. Make sure to schedule time to let yourself rest and take a break from staring at your computer screen. Go outside and get some fresh air!
Overall time management and having a comfortable, safe place to do your virtual classes are probably the most important things to worry about to stay organized and prepared. Virtual classes may be a lot of work, but as long as you stay on top of your classes and allow yourself time to rest from studying, you are going to set yourself up for success!
How are you planning on staying organized for your virtual classes? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image: https://pin.it/5xbjqH4
Caitlyn is a third-year student at UCLA. She is majoring in English. She enjoys writing, and going to hot yoga classes and, of course, binge-watching Netflix. At UCLA, Caitlyn is a feature writer for HER Campus, part of the American Cancer Society club, and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta.