There’s so much to do and you don’t know how you should prepare for online classes?
Almost everyone is testing the waters for new educational systems to be implemented at this time of community quarantine.
It’s frustrating at first and nobody knows how it will progress.
It may cause anxiety because of the uncertainties, unstable internet connection, and personal life problems coming altogether.
If you’re having trouble organizing your thoughts, planning for the next steps, or even breathing properly… I hope these steps help you in preparing for your online classes.
Ready? Let’s go.
7 Helpful Steps to Prepare for Online Classes
1. List and get the study materials you NEED to use for the online academic year.
I emphasized the word “need” because having too many things on your plate will only be counterproductive to your study sessions.
Get your pen and paper, and carefully list all the things you think you need.
Review it and cross-out things you just want to have but do not need while studying.
Here is the version of my list if I were to prepare for online classes:
- Stable internet connection (at least 10mbps)
- Gadgets to use for learning: laptop, phone (tablet or iPad, but I do not have these so I’m going to use my laptop instead)
- Gdrive — for file storage or backup
- Stationeries and a printer — notebook, pen, highlighters, paper ream for Printables
- e-books (or physical books)
- Notetaking and productivity apps — Notion, Notes app, forest, google calendar, DayOne journal
- Study playlist
Call-to-action: List study materials you use and let me know in the comment section if you have more suggestions for other students.
2. Do your research — get advice, tips, notes from your seniors.
It’s okay to seek help from people who already know how to get through the academic year.
Simply googling advice like this article would also give you ideas that you can implement to your study habits.
Message your friends from the higher years or if you have none – get courage and try messaging whoever you know to ask for tips. It may be uncomfortable for you, but these guys would feel honored to answer your questions.
Asking for help is a sign that you are willing to learn from others and not just from your experiences.
You will also end up being friends with them while building a network of people you will eventually need in the future.
Call-to-action: Look for someone you can get help from and start typing those questions, ask for notes and tips. Hit send, breathe, and wait for the blessings to come.
Pro tip: As a dedicated medical student, you can already organize transes (notes) and read some of it before classes start.
3. Engineer your study or workspace area.
This is crucial for studying at home or anywhere outside the classroom. You need to take time and give your full effort in engineering your study area.
Make your environment favorable for studying. Enjoy customizing your place and imagine yourself being in the zone in that specific area.
Have a clean and proper place wherein it is only designed for studying. Think of it as a zone, whereas if you enter, you’d also be inside a special quest only for learning or working.
As much as possible, try to separate your work life and personal life in that workspace.
If you have no other choice of place or if you also find your dining area conducive for learning, be sure there won’t be distractions during your online classes.
Call-to-action: Start cleaning, organizing, and customizing your workspace. Take a picture of it and upload it to your social media with the hashtag, #OnlineClassesReady2020! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! @maeveall
4. Plan your schedule.
At the start of any course, professors discuss and give a copy of the course curriculum not for the students to store it in one place and forget about it eventually.
But you need to make good use of it. Align your schedules to the topics needed to be learned at a specific period.
Once you get a copy of your course curriculum, read it carefully, and use it as a guide in planning your study schedule.
Planning may seem to be an illusion of doing something productive, but having a plan is better than having none. Being intentional about what you must study is key in managing time as a student.
Planning is potential power, you must take action to your plans to receive powerful results.
Call-to-action: Set a daily reminder every morning with the label, “use your course curriculum and plan a study schedule” until you already have a concrete study schedule/plan/calendar, whatever you want to call it. Then follow it religiously.
Pro tip: Set a schedule for household chores and other businesses outside school. You can do it!
5. Talk to your family about your situation.
Have a serious deal with the people around you. Tell them how you value your relationship with them, but they also need to agree that you value your education as well.
Faye, my med buddy, gave her class schedule to her family so that they know when she’s available for their family business.
You, too, can let your family know how they can help you focus on your studies. Tell them when they can disturb or not and show your appreciation for their understanding.
Make peace with yourself and the people surrounding you during your online courses. Pray to God that He gives you laser-focus, wisdom, and patience.
Call-to-action: Plan for the unexpected events in your home. Be kind and ask a huge favor from the people there with you.
6. Get ready to treat online classes as face-to-face classes.
I asked JR Bermillo, a close friend of mine who is already a professor, about an important tip he can give to students preparing for online classes.
Students must treat online classes as face-to-face classes, JR said.
He mentioned the importance of having a study routine and study schedules to follow.
This way, students can be organized and truly feel like they are in a normal classroom set-up.
Trick your mind and tell yourself that you’re going to learn more with the resources at the tip of your fingers, in front of your screens.
Let this be a challenge for you to become more disciplined and to improve your study habits in the comfort of your home.
Call-to-action: Train yourself to go to online classes just like how you go to school ready to integrate new knowledge.
7. Breathe and talk to yourself a lot.
Jilian, one of my colleagues in medical school, says that having the right mindset plays a big part of her.
If there’s anything she can’t NOT do, it is to prepare herself mentally.
No matter how unprepared she is physically as long as her brain understands that it’s time to learn and study, then she’s at least 50% ready.
So try to breathe deeply…
Consider having a self pep talk that you can do anything as long as you keep your mind to it because it can make your life 214% better.
Installing a positive outlook for online classes helps you enjoy the process of taking online classes in general. Surrender your fears of recitation, being unable to manage time, and not learning anything.
Call-to-action: Focus on improving your study habits, self-discipline, and mindset about taking courses online.
BONUS: Pray for yourself and everyone in your university.
How can I pray for you?
I asked this to a dear college friend and he told me to save my prayers for others who need it more. He said he doesn’t want to be a hypocrite because he isn’t the kind of person who prays for something to happen.
I understand where he’s coming from, but I insisted to pray for him because I know that prayer is powerful. Our conversation ended with him sending a picture of a Prayer For a Friend card. He told me to imagine him saying that prayer for me.
And I think that’s beautiful.
Praying is not a chore. It is a habit that everyone must learn to love. Someone Up there listens to our prayers and He gives us what we need.
So pray for yourself, your classmates, professors, school organizations, family, and study buddies. Ask for wisdom, guidance, provisions, patience, perseverance, and protection.
Although the scripture says that faith without works is dead (James 2:26), so is praying without doing something for it is dead.
Call-to-action: Pray and trust the process.
Online classes can be frustrating and uncomfortable for most people. Especially for those who are not capable of having it in the first place. But that should not be the reason for students being discouraged from taking online courses.
This is given to you as a blessing and a privilege. If you find learning as a problem and you don’t see the joy in it, you might want to re-think the things you value in life.
Although if you want to finish studying and get a degree out of it, make sure you make learning fun for you. Enjoy the journey without compromising your health.
Take deep breaths and know that you can slay this academic year!
It will be a story-worthy period in our generation and that’s for sure.
MAKE THE MOST OUT OF IT. Sorry for shouting.
If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, to your social media accounts, and to your family who needs to hear and understand your requests.
- Hat tip for JR Bermillo, one of my best blockmates in Biochemistry, for sharing his wisdom about preparing for online classes.
- My medical school friends for giving me their tips on how they prepared for this year’s online class – Faye and Jia!
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