How to effectively study from home

Online classes require different habits than in-person classes


Graphic by Kayla Brown

Kayla Brown

A lot of people avoid online classes because they find it hard to focus but with most classes now being taught on Zoom for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unavoidable. 

As someone who did independent study throughout high school, it took me a lot of trial and error to find the perfect way to balance online classes. 

Here is your guide to taking online classes and working from home.

Never Work In Your Bed

You’ve probably heard this before but there’s a good reason. Your bed is a sanctuary solely for sleeping, you need to keep your bed and work separate. When you do work in your bed you start to associate your bed with work instead of sleep, making it harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. You’re also more likely to stay awake and finish your work if you do it at a desk or table, rather than your bed. 

Set alarms to wake up 

Even if you don’t have to be awake before noon, you should still set an alarm. Structuring your day as if you were going to campus will help you have a sense of normalcy. You’ll also be more productive if you don’t sleep in, allowing you time to study, do any homework and even cook a nice breakfast or lunch for yourself. 

Write out all your assignments

I don’t mean you need to get a planner and write every single assignment in there, just write down what you need to do every day somewhere visible. I used to write out a daily checklist on my full-body mirror so that every time I walked by it, I would be guilted into doing an assignment. There’s also just a sense of accomplishment whenever you get to check something off or cross it out once you finish it. 

Make a space for yourself

You don’t want someone interrupting your Zoom class or your dirty laundry in the background of your Zoom video, so make a space for yourself. Let any roommates or family members know this is your space for school and work and create boundaries. If you have people interrupting you or you do everything in a common living space you probably won’t get a lot of work done. 

Take breaks and reward yourself

Most importantly, don’t forget to take breaks and allow yourself to breathe. This is a stressful time for all of us and if you need to step back from your computer and do something to relax, do it without guilt. Set a timer and enjoy something as a little reward for completing half of the day’s list and then get back to it once that timer goes off. 

This is a stressful time and transitioning to online classes is tough, but with the right space and setting a schedule for yourself, you’ll get through this. Remember not to beat yourself up if you didn’t finish everything that day. If you’re struggling and need to seek help, Student Health and Counseling at The WELL is still open for therapy via Zoom, for information you can check out the Health and Counseling website and call to set up an appointment.