With a pandemic ravaging the world and financial insecurity abounding due to a huge loss of jobs, many students struggled to put their best effort into their schoolwork. While COVID-19 remains an imposing threat in our world, 2021 is a new year and a time to improve ourselves in any way we can, including beefing up study habits or reducing stress for the spring semester. Here’s some tips to help get you going.
Make your study area a place you really want to be
Whether it’s your dorm desk, a corner of your room, or a closet in your apartment, try to have a designated area to study and Zoom into classes that feels comfortable and tidy. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but some small decorations from around the house or the dollar store can help spruce up your workplace. If you enjoy spending time there, you’ll enjoy doing homework there, too.
Reward yourself for finishing tasks
If you’re someone who finds themselves easily distracted, just getting through multiple pages for an assigned reading or a quiz is a victory. Instead of trying to remain focused on something difficult for long periods of time, sometimes it helps to break things up into small chunks. Do something for pleasure in between tasks, like watching a YouTube video or a short sitcom episode. You’ll feel accomplished for finishing your task and will look forward to getting the next one done.
Seek out virtual (or socially-distanced) study buddies
Misery loves company, and sometimes the best way to make it through a hard class is to find somebody to suffer through it with you. With fewer in-person classes than usual, it can be difficult to find someone to bounce ideas off, but it’s worth it to try. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to someone in your class via Canvas or email to get a second opinion on an assignment or reading. Since we’re all somewhat desperate for human interaction at this point, making friends is very valuable.
Get some study snacks
This one is simple enough—snacks are good, homework is bad, but combining them makes homework less bad. You deserve a treat if you’re working on something tough. Making studying or Zoom class more enjoyable in any way you can is helpful. Plus, you can get away with eating way more in a virtual class than an in-person lecture.
Don’t beat yourself up
Maybe the most important thing to remember going into the spring semester is that these are completely unprecedented times, and you’re doing something extremely difficult by choosing to keep going with your degree in a global pandemic. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Things get forgotten sometimes, and maybe you won’t do as good on a test as you’d hope. It’s okay. A saying I’ve recently really liked to apply to coursework is that “sometimes, done is better than good.” Just getting things turned in can be less stressful and more rewarding than freaking out for a long time about an assignment that won’t matter much in the end.