The University of Maine at Presque Isle will return to fully online on Nov. 23, which means students will need to adapt to a new change in their education. With some UMPI classes already online or hybrid, students will have a head start on transitioning to fully online. Although online learning through Zoom is very flexible and easy-to-use, many students feel they learn best in an environment of in-person classes.
The switch to fully online classes this semester plays a huge role in students’ social lives and their mental health. Students will be taking their classes from home and in their bedrooms, which is a much different experience from in a classroom. There are many tips and tricks students can follow to stay focused during these last weeks of the fall semester.
Students have been using Zoom for many months now, so they should be getting used to the application. Zoom is very accessible and easy-to-use, so students are now more confident using it. Students should know how to work their camera and mute button. It is always important to arrive on Zoom a couple of minutes before class time. When their camera is on, students should have good lighting and pay attention to their body positioning. It can be difficult to speak on Zoom, so patience is key during participation and conversations with one another.
Another tip for students as they switch to online learning is to keep a schedule and stay organized. It is very easy to lose track of time when working on a computer, so making a schedule or to-do list could be helpful. Many students use academic planners to map out their days. Something as simple as Post-it® notes or a sheet of paper can do the job. It is also important to take breaks from your computer screen. Looking at a digital computer screen can be mentally exhausting and physically painful on your eyes. Walking away from your screen is beneficial when you spend long hours on your computer. Take breaks from your computer screen to grab a snack or take a walk during the day.
“I like to make lists of everything I have due each week. I think the most important thing with online school is setting aside time to complete schoolwork,” UMPI sophomore, Emily Blauvet, said. “It’s important to have good communication with your professors and stay on top of your work. I just hope for the best!”
Having a comfortable and pleasant environment is crucial to college students’ educational experience. It is important to find a comfortable workspace to take classes and complete homework in. Students need to be able to feel comfortable and relaxed in their space, whether that is a bedroom or office. Having a cozy chair and a proper desk is something all students should have.
When students take classes on Zoom, it can be very easy to become distracted by their surroundings. They are no longer in a learning environment inside a classroom. They are no longer face-to-face with their classmates, so it is easy to get distracted from their classes on Zoom. Students can take away distractions around them by turning off their phones or other electronic devices. Sometimes when classes have more students, it can be easier to lose focus.
Students also should take care of their bodies and minds during these last weeks of classes. Having good physical and mental health will benefit students and their academics. Students should be getting enough sleep, even if that means taking naps during the day. They should be drinking plenty of water, not just coffee in the morning. Students can also incorporate exercise and a healthy diet into their routine. Taking these steps will allow them to have positive mental and physical health during the rest of the fall semester.
“It’s going to be hard going fully online, but I plan on my making a schedule every day to keep me organized. If I stick to my schedule, it is easier for me to adapt to change,” UMPI senior, Marissa Valdivia Reagle, said. “Last semester when we went online, I had to move a desk into my room. I wanted it to be more of a school environment in my room.”
All of these steps will benefit students in one way of another. Taking classes and completing an education at home is a unique experience. It is definitely not easy. Even real-world professionals are struggling with working remotely and at home. As students travel back home for the holidays, please remember to make your health a number one priority. Having good grades is not as important as taking care of yourself. Finish the semester and year off strongly because we all need a good break for the holidays.