Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, this year may be a little different. As of 2020 and 2021, online school has become the new normal.
Instead of picking out the perfect shoes to go with your new outfit, you’re picking out the perfect shirt to go with your room’s decor. Or maybe that’s just me.
Online school is new for everyone, which means everyone is at the same starting line: inexperienced and confused. But you don’t have to go in not prepared at all (in fact, you don’t want to do that).
Learn how you can prepare for the start of a new online semester and be on your way to a smooth and successful school year.
Update: Even though many schools are back to in-person learning now, a higher number of students than ever before continue to do online school or hybrid learning. These tips still apply for preparing for the new online school year!
Make Sure All Tech is Working
You can’t succeed in online school without stable technology. I mean, you can’t even access online school without them!
Here are a few things you probably need to have:
- A stable WIFI connection
- A working computer
- ZOOM installed and working
- A working printer
Of course, these are just the very basic necessities. Make sure to check with your teacher for complete lists!
You’ll want to ensure everything is working before the first day of school so you can fix any tech malfunctions before they become an issue.
Have Planner(s) On Hand
Without seeing teachers or classmates every day, you have no one to remind you about dates except yourself. But just trying to memorize all of them and hoping you won’t forget is one of the worst strategies you can use.
This is where planners come in. Here are a few reasons why you need a planner:
- Keep track of due dates and test dates
- Plan how you’ll split up projects
- Schedule your daily tasks
- Relieve stress of “so much to do yet so little time”
If you’re more of a digital planner kind of person, you can simply opt for the Calendar on your computer. Just enter in the due date/test date and set a reminder for yourself for however often you’d like.
Personally, I enjoy physical planners more. I use multiple planners: a calendar for important dates, a weekly planner for daily tasks, and a journal for general planning.
If you’re looking for planners to help productivity, I wholeheartedly recommend this Undated Productivity Journal. Unlike other overly fancy planners, this planner simply does its job, and does it well.
It includes pages for all the planning you need, including Yearly, Monthly, Weekly, and Daily planning. It also includes areas specifically for prioritizing tasks, something other planners seem to forget.
Related Post: 15 Essential Tools You Need to Succeed in Online School
Check The “Bell Schedule”
You don’t want to miss class, even though it’s online. In the new school year, you’re meeting new teachers and new classmates. Don’t leave a bad first impression by missing the class altogether!
You can set reminders or alarms on your phone to make sure you don’t miss a class (recommended), or you can make a physical copy of the bell schedule and put it somewhere you’ll see often.
Although school is online and you’re at home, this isn’t your chance to relax and do whatever you want, whenever you want. Being able to execute self-control, productivity, efficiency, and learning without guidance is difficult, but it’s also an indicator of a good student or employee (ahem, colleges and future employers?).
Get To Know Your Classmates
This is obviously a little more difficult this year than previously. But it’s no less important than before!
Becoming friends with your classmates opens up new opportunities. You can:
- Get help with your homework
- Get information you missed
- Work on projects together (if permitted)
- Make a new friend!
But how exactly can I do that?
First things first. You have to know who’s in your class. And to do that, you have to go to the first few class meetings.
You likely already know some of your classmates or even are friends with them. If so, great! If not, no worries. There are a couple of ways you can get to know someone:
- Reach out to them on social media (do this when you have a question)
- Get a mutual friend to introduce you (maybe they can make a mini group chat)
- Make a class group chat (recommended)
Have The Right Tools Ready
Just like you wouldn’t go to school without your backpack, you can’t succeed in online school without the right tools and resources. But luckily, you don’t have to carry these tools around with you! Below are some essentials I believe every student should have.
- Notebooks for note-taking and scratch work
- Highlighters and colored pens for color-coding
- Headphones if you are in a noisy environment
- Blue light-blocking eyeglasses
- Timer/stopwatch to maximize productivity
- Grammarly to perfect your writing
- Google Docs to take digital notes
- Fiveable, Khan Academy, and YouTube for self-learning
- CopyClip to save everything you’ve copied to your computer
Online school brings many challenges. It’s a whole different experience, and a world none of us are familiar with. But instead of worrying about it, learn how to master it and treat it as the new normal (though we continue to pray that COVID-19 will disappear soon)!
Update: And even though things are now back to normal at most schools, you may continue with online school for various reasons — these tips will help you to start off the new online school year strong and successful!
If you’re looking for more relevant tips, check out these posts:
- How To Motivate Yourself To Study When You Don’t Feel Like It
- How To Organize Your Desk To Maximize Productivity
- Maximize Productivity During Online School in 7 Steps
Have you taken steps to prepare for the new semester? What strategies have you used?