Ok, Zoomer: Resources and tips to smooth the transition to online learning

| Senior Scene Editor

A lot has changed in the last week. Suddenly, members of the Washington University became online students, and with classes starting on Monday, March 23, not knowing what that transition will be like can be frightening. Here are some small ways to make the move to virtual learning a bit smoother.

Grace Bruton | Student Life

The University Library system is one of many entities that are offering online resources for students as the campus prepares to transition to online classes for the remainder of the semester.

Create a schedule

If you’re someone who likes the structure of school, creating a routine for yourself can make things feel a bit more normal. Since many classes are not being streamed live to be accessible to students across time zones, it can be helpful to schedule set times throughout the week to watch lectures or do work from a specific course. This will keep you from feeling like you have this vast expanse of time to kill. Also, if living at home brings additional responsibilities into your life, scheduling it all out can help you feel a bit less overwhelmed.

Find a designated workspace

For those who never do work in their dorms, being home can greatly deteriorate that work-life balance, especially when multiple family members are confined to the same space and have to share devices. Finding a specific place where you can do work—whether it be a desk, kitchen counter or sitting against a wall in your room—will allow you to create some separation between school time and relaxation or family time.

Take advantage of online resources

Although most students may not be able to access campus, there are still helpful campus resources available that you should be aware of.

The University Libraries website has compiled a list of digital materials, including eBooks, databases and research guides. There’s also a chat service so that you can ask librarians last-minute questions or set up a virtual meeting.

You can also schedule an online meeting with a tutor from the Writing Center. Just go onto the Writing Center website as you normally would and schedule up to 50 minutes to talk to someone about your work. Since moving to online instruction is challenging, the Learning Center will resume its mentoring sessions and peer coaching through Zoom starting March 23. You’ll also be able to get any of your questions about using online learning technology or academic support answered quickly during the Center’s virtual drop in hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time, Monday through Friday. Also, since you can’t talk to your professors in person anymore, make sure to take advantage of any video chat office hours they provide.

Although all these resources can be immensely helpful, they’re inaccessible without proper WiFi access. However, many internet providers have been offering free packages for a limited time for college students. If WiFi is a concern for you, check out new programs from companies such as Charter and Comcast to see how you can get access.

Make time for yourself

It’s easy to get caught up in schoolwork and other responsibilities, even when you’re not on campus. Stay connected with friends and loved ones by scheduling time to video chat, talk on the phone or even watch a movie together using the Netflix Party extension, which lets you synchronize viewing and chat with friends. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time looking at a screen, it’s also important to find things to do that allow you to take a break from technology for a bit, such as working on an arts and crafts project or cooking.

Relax your expectations

This is a really difficult time, especially if going home creates additional stressors or obligations. Don’t beat yourself up if you find that you can’t dedicate as much effort to schoolwork. If you have extra time on your hands, don’t feel like you need to be taking advantage of it as much as possible to write the next great American novel or learn a language. The most important thing is that you prioritize your mental and physical health and that of those around you. It’s okay to not meet your normal expectations for yourself, because this is not a normal situation.

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