Even with everything changing daily, one thing we do know is that classes are going to be online for the rest of the semester. Now that we are about two weeks into using Zoom I have created a list of things that I do on a daily basis that I have found helpful with the new online format. 

1.Create a schedule 

To stay organized and on top of things I like to start my day by creating a list of tasks I hope to accomplish throughout the day. Whether it’s remembering a homework assignment or taking out the trash, I write it down to help me remember what I need to get done.  I personally have found it harder to focus now that things are online and I feel like I am not accomplishing as much as I normally do. Crossing things off my list helps me realize that I really am getting things done, plus it’s super satisfying to check things off my list as I finish them. 

2. Set alarms

Now that I am taking classes from home I feel like I am faced with many more distractions than usual. My dog can be especially distracting and help me lose track of time very easily. For classes that I don’t have back to back, I have found that it helps me set an alarm about 10 minutes before the class starts to remind me that I should log on. This gives me enough time to sit back down, get situated, log into my lecture, and not be late. 

3. Take a lap and get some fresh air

One thing I never realized how much I appreciated was walking and stretching my legs in between my classes. Sure it isn’t always enjoyable if this walk is from Leavy to Sal and you only have 10 minutes and your professor likes to lecture over. BUT, it is a nice break from sitting and listening to your professor’s lecture. Now that I’m sitting in one seat all day for my classes I have found that it helps to take a lap around my house during the time I’d usually be walking around campus. When it isn’t raining I also like to go out in the backyard to get some fresh air and also eat my lunch! 

4. Create boundaries

Now that I am almost two full years out of high school, my parents home has become less of a place of work and more of a place that I associate with relaxation and coming back to for breaks. Realizing that I had to do homework here again definitely took a couple days to adjust to. To help this, I created a space in my house that was dedicated just for me to do work. For me this downstairs at our dining room table. This is a space where my parents know that if I’m sitting there it means that I am in class or working. This also allows me to keep my room as a place I can relax and play animal crossing.

5. Communication is key

Another challenge I have had to address with online classes is that now there are multiple people working out of my home. Whether it’s your siblings or parents, it’s important to talk about what’s going on during your day. For example this week I had to give a presentation on Zoom so I made sure my parents knew so they wouldn’t accidentally walk by or make disruptive noises. This way you don’t accidentally end up a meme video if something embarrassing were to happen.

6. Put on some pants

While for some of us our new classroom might be a few steps away from our bed I recommend that you change out of your pajamas. I have found that doing this helps put me in more of a work mode than relaxation mode. 

7. Even more zooming! 

Okay so hear me out on this one because the tip may seem a little confusing. With classes now online it is easy to feel disconnected from our friends and classmates. But luckily for us we have technology to keep us connected. Almost every night I make a point to do a call with just one person or a group to check in with them and chat like I would normally be doing in person at USC. Sometimes I’ll facetime a friend and we will just sit and do homework together. 

I hope that some of these tips will help you succeed in online classes!

Alexandra Rennie

Alexandra Rennie

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Palos Verdes, California PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @_alexrennie On campus I am the current captain of the USC Spirit Leaders, an ambassador for the Wrigley Institute of Sustainability, and a member of Greek Life.