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Online Academic Success / Study Skills

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Study Tips for High School and College Students during COVID-19 quarantine

Online Success: Student Tips in the Time of Covid-19

Lydia Minatoya, Ph.D.
Counseling Department, North Seattle College

Tip #1.  Recognize that these are extraordinary times--extra-ordinary, beyond what we can predict--so be kind and patient with yourself.
Humans rely on predictability.  When we can take routines for granted, we feel less friction.  Living a predictable life, in what we feel is a predictable world, provides us with mental space to focus our attention on things of our own choosing and to be efficient. 

Now everything has changed. To protect people from harm, you may be staying home 24/7 with roommates, partners, children, parents, siblings, pets.  You may find yourself staying home, alone, feeling isolated.  You may be worried about distant or vulnerable loved ones.  Everything that we did on autopilot-- going to work and school, buying groceries, meeting friends—now requires planning. 

Recognize that slowed-reaction-time in situations of uncertainty is part of being human. We are all in this together.  Accept that frustrations and disappointments will arise.  Practice compassion toward yourself and others.  Tell yourself that you are doing the best you can.   Communicate with your instructors, your housemates, and classmates. 

When we put our humanity first and problem-solve together, history shows we can-- individually and collectively—make significant strides in knowledge and understanding.

Tip #2. Designate and clear-off a small study-space, with a table and chair, lighting, electrical outlet for charging your computer. 
Tell the people you live with why you need a stable space, where and when you would like it and negotiate if it conflicts with their needs. You do not have to have a home office.  Think of the little study-desk booths in libraries.  

Tip #3.  Organize a study schedule that encourages you to log-on and make brief comments/ask questions daily and that breaks tasks into manageable “chunks”.   
Designate different blocks of times to read, to complete written assignments, and to post online.  Be flexible: schedule study blocks to complement other important needs such as connecting with loved ones, meals, exercise, sleep.  Be committed: when you procrastinate, you cannot fully relax because you are feeling guilty.

Tip #4.  Silence your phone and internet alerts.  Try to schedule your study blocks during times you are less likely to be interrupted.
If you live in a noisy environment, consider listening to instrumental music (if you listen to music with lyrics you are apt to mentally sing along) through earbuds/headphones.

Tip #5.  Get involved with the material. 
Participate in discussions, maybe starting with planning-ahead one question to ask or one comment to post/per discussion.  Students report that this helps them quickly develop enjoyable relationships and deeper thinking.

Tip #6.  Communicate with your instructors.  Visit the homepages/Canvas sites of campus resources.  Counseling Student Learning Center e-tutoring, Library 

Ask for help when confused, describe any obstacles you are facing.  Instructors and campus offices want you to be successful and will provide you with assistance and encouragement.

Tip #7.  Daily, briefly pause to praise and appreciate yourself, to experience gratitude for the people and moments that nourish you and to enjoy humor and playfulness.