This year wasn’t what we were all expecting, that much I think we can all agree on. While some classes are still held in-person on-campus and socially distanced, some seminars are still held online through Zoom. It can be difficult to concentrate on a seminar when staring at a computer screen for two hours, physically separated from your peers and professors. However here are some tips I’ve been doing to stay motivated and focused on online lessons!
Tip 1: go somewhere quiet
There’s nothing more distracting than trying to focus on your class while there’s a lot of noise around you! You can book study spaces on-campus, or if you prefer, you can remain at home. Communal study spaces on-campus are often distracting (for you and for others around you), and you need to be in the right mindset for your class.
Tip 2: remove all nearby distractions
Treat your zoom class as if you’re in an in-person class. It can be distracting if your phone is nearby, or if your desk is messy with work or books from other classes. Get into the zone by turning off your phone or putting it on the other side of the kitchen to avoid temptation. Also, the better prepared you are for your class, the more focused you are likely to be!
Tip 3: have a break before and after
You’re sitting at your desk or kitchen table for two hours and you’re bound to get weary after staring at your screen and forcing your brain into focusing. Before class, take a walk or stretch, make some tea, have a snack. This will break up the monotony of sitting at your table, constantly working, without breaks. Have something to look forward to after class – such as lunch, a break, or FaceTiming a friend.
Tip 4: rest your eyes
Usually, when we take a break from work, this involves scrolling on our Instagram or Twitter feeds for 5 minutes before we go back to our screens. All this blue light can affect our sleep, mental health, and even the health of our eyes! So consider taking a non-screen time break before and after class or purchasing non-prescription blue-light glasses. These breaks can help you stay refreshed. Also, don’t be afraid to email your professor and request a 5 minute break in the middle of the seminar – Zoom fatigue is real.
Tip 5: give yourself a pat on the back
Give yourself credit! Online seminars are unfamiliar to students and professors alike, and everyone is trying their best. Focus on the positives, for example you don’t have to wear a mask at home and you can make yourself tea or coffee. Be kind to yourself and your professors and academic mentors are there to support you.