by Julien-Pierre “Johnny” Campbell
I miss on-campus learning, as I’m sure many PSU students do. I’ve found it difficult to adapt to life as a full-time student at home. What I’ve also found, however, are some small ways to make online learning a little easier. Here are my tips!
Find a space and make it yours: Having a dedicated study space can make all the difference. I staked out my kitchen table. My roommate found a cheap desk on Amazon. We use these spaces as spots solely to study, and do our leisure activities elsewhere. If I’m using my laptop for fun, I pick a different room. In this way, I’ve sort of trained myself to feel productive in my study spot, and to use it just for that. It may not be a classroom, but it’s the next best thing.
Have fun with your study materials: I’ve never been one for color-coded sticky notes and special pens. I noticed, though, that everyone who used them said it helped them feel more engaged. It made note-taking fun. I splurged on some fancy highlighters, some expensive pens, a planner, and some colorful sticky notes. I must admit, I’m on the bandwagon now! It’s a little thing, but it’s aesthetically pleasing and fun. I also find that having notes where each “section” is a different color is actually a really helpful distinction!
Reach out to your classmates: I’m a very social person, and one of the things I miss most about on-campus learning is making new friends. I’ve met some really cool people in my online classes, but Zoom is a very public platform. Frankly, it feels a little weird to ask, “Hey, wanna be friends?” in front of a class full of people. I feel like I’ve missed out on some wonderful friendships for fear of reaching out. Last term, I bit the bullet and private messaged a classmate to say I loved their ideas, and if they wanted to be study buddies, I’d be happy to do so. They responded so enthusiastically that I realized something: a lot of people are missing the social aspect of college too. Since then, I’ve reached out to a few people in my classes, and made some amazing, lasting friends.
These are only a few tips, but they have really helped me. I hope they help you too!