5 Tips for Acing Zoom Classes

With our classes online, most of us find ourselves in the unusual situation of being alone in our learning. When we don’t have as much to do during the day, it’s easy to just put off the work as something for later, or just lose track of all your time. We can tackle these issues with 5 simple and easy tricks to help manage your time and energy.

1. Social Distancing Doesn’t Mean Social Isolation

It’s a whole lot harder to ask for help when you have to fully take the initiative. Still, it’s important to use emails to ask questions to your professors and utilize campus resources that have gone online, like the Academic Skills Center, the Writing Center or Mathlab (Zoom Link for Tues/Weds, Mon/Thurs). 
But even if you don’t quite need specific help, why not study with others? Keep music on in the background, have a few people on a call, and keep each other accountable. When we study with others, even if it’s relatively quiet, we keep each other accountable and feel a lot less alone.

2. Organization is Key

It’s hard to know how to tackle your work if you’re not entirely sure what’s on the agenda, so organization is key. Make a list of what is due. Prioritize based on due date or the impact it will have on your grade. If we give a little time to understand how things fit into the bigger picture, we can sort out appropriate time for our task – thus working hard and working smart.
Need a to do list that has a priority system and can also sync to calendars? Here you go.
Need a timer that can also allow you to break down your tasks to time blocks with breaks in them? Gotcha right here.
You a pen and paper kind of person? Here’s a few systems to try out.
There’s a lot out there. Figure out what works for you and double down – you’ve got this.

3. Can’t Focus? Go Full Screen

We’ve all got that tempting itch to just switch over to another window during class. Your professor speaking too slowly? Class getting a little too confusing? A little too boring? Entertainment is just one click away….
But that doesn’t help. At best, you just have to catch up on your own time (which wastes time). At worst, you just feel more lost. And yes, your professors know when you click off of the zoom window during a call. Zoom tracks it, and they have access to the data. They also can download a log of private messages too, so Zoom DMs aren’t the place to mess around either.
Best way to tackle this issue is to nip it in the bud and remove the temptation: go full screen. Going full screen makes sure your eyes don’t notice the latest notification badges at your taskbar, or the siren call of fanfiction. But we’re here to build ourselves a better life, and at the very least you’re here to pass that class: power through, you know what to do. 

4. Just Keep Moving

Sitting down for very long periods of time is probably one of the worst things we can do for our body. You’ve heard your mother say it, now I’m saying it, I’m pretty sure someone on television has said it, and Harvard’s definitely said it too. 
There’s a lot you can do, and there’s something out there that interests you – maybe it’s body-weight exercises, using a home gym, or walking in circles while listening to a podcast. Consider even standing up and staring longingly out a window after class. Every bit of movement counts, and the internet’s got a lot of ideas out there.

5. Life: “Burnout?” You, an Intellectual: “Breaks”

Sometimes, we get the paradoxical feeling that even though college is online, there’s even more work to do at home. It’s definitely tempting to sit down for a couple hours, burn holes into our eyes and just power through everything – but it’s important to take breaks too. 
Breaks can be found in a lot of ways: connecting with others, trying out hobbies, even staring into space. As much as school matters, your health matters just as much. And when you take care of yourself, you feel more refreshed and ready to tackle our new, and very peculiar, world.

Good luck with the semester, and remember to wash your hands!

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