Home is where the heart is and also where our favorite distractions live. (Netflix marathon, anyone?) These shiny things can easily take away our attention and motivation to be productive. As an online student, you may find studying at home is challenging. You may even feel disconnected from your instructors and peers.
But there’s good news, which we’ve outlined below in the form of 10 simple student life hacks. These tips will help you stay engaged, on track and ready to conquer the coursework in your chosen online degree or certificate program.
1.) Manage your time. Some people think time management is all about getting a lot done in the least amount of time. In reality, time management is about prioritizing what you need to get done in a specific amount of time. Use the calendar feature tied to your preferred email account and schedule time to study. While you’re studying, turn OFF email notifications and turn on the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone (instructions for iPhone and Android). And when you need a break, take one. It’s good to recharge before you switch your focus from one class to the next. The more you practice time management, the more focused you’ll become.
2.) Organize your to-dos. “I’m just not an organized person.” Sound like you? We understand. Organizational skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but thankfully there’s an app for that. Here are some apps that can help any busy student organize their academic life:
- MyHomework App – Dubbed the leading cross-platform student planner, this app integrates with your class schedule to access assignments anytime, anywhere. You can track homework, projects, and other important to-dos – all with useful reminders to make sure you get your schoolwork done.
- Trello – Relied on by students and Fortune 500 companies alike, Trello is a visual way for people to manage their to-dos through a series of boards. Often used by teams, Trello can also be a valuable tool for individuals – allowing you to create checklists, set reminders and due dates around assignments, and much more.
- Smartphone Reminders – Both Apple and Android smartphones have some great features that can help you organize your academic life. Use native notes apps with checklist features to create a to-do list, and schedule reminders for things like homework due dates and upcoming exams.
3.) Build a support system. Even though you attend class on your own time, no person is an island. Grantham University’s student advisors and instructors assist students in all phases of their education, no matter where in the world they’re located. These students also rely on their spouses, friends and family to stay inspired. Success in college isn’t solely determined by how much you study. A positive support system can make all the difference in your journey toward earning a college degree.
4.) Keep your mental health in mind. Many online students are also working professionals, parents or both. Maintaining these responsibilities takes a lot of time and effort. It can be easy to slip into a hurried mindset about your education, but doing so may cause you to crash and burn. That’s why your mental health is so important. Every day, take time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy and peace of mind. It’s healthy to at times detach from social media, work, school and other aspects of your life that can drain your energy.
5.) Don’t forget your physical well-being. You know exercise has countless health benefits, but did you know it actually boosts your brainpower? Participate in physical activities regularly. Find a workout or sport you enjoy — think of it as a reward that will enhance your ability to learn when it’s time to hit the books again!
6.) Get out and network. Just because you’re an online student doesn’t mean you’re confined to a digital world. In every city, you can find networking events to develop professional contacts, connect with new friends, and discover mentors with real experience in your field of interest. Search for events and organizations based on your career and personal goals, such as business lectures and advertising clubs. Need a place to start? Check out MeetUp.com – a website that connects you with groups and clubs in your city based on your interests.
7.) Play music. Sometimes, you have to set the right mood to dive into your studies. For many students, classical, smooth jazz and ambient music set the ideal study mood. Some students find essential oils, candles and the like create a calming atmosphere, so they can work stress-free.
8.) Utilize your resources. You’re already on your computer. Why not utilize the resources at your fingertips? There are several ways you can use online tools and settings to make your study time more efficient. Eliminate distractions like Facebook and Twitter with web extensions, such as StayFocused. This helpful tool for Google Chrome limits your time on sites that eat away at your day. And you can find good deals on textbooks and other supplies you may need for class, too.
9.) Apply what you’ve learned. The most effective way to learn and retain information is by doing. Test your knowledge with online practice tests, so you can be prepared for the real thing. Search by subject matter and watch helpful how-to videos, if applicable to your studies.
10.) Make your home your UA Grantham campus. This means setting up your own space dedicated to schoolwork. Whether you live in a studio apartment or have an extra room, decorate your desk or study area with reminders of what you are trying to accomplish. That way, when you walk by your home campus, you’ll remember you are moving forward.
With eight-week courses and monthly starts, Grantham is ready when you are. To explore more about our university and see if our programs are the right fit for you, feel free to reach out to our dedicated admissions team.