One Student’s Guide to Endless Online Expectations
By Mia LoPresti, PR/Media Coordinator, Spring 2021
Sinking into the best cushion on the couch, catching up on all of the day's activities from my roommates, I hear my phone buzz. Thinking it’s probably just a New York Times update, I let it go. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz. I sigh, and realize that my couch time is up, as I have an asynchronous assignment due the next morning. Reminiscing on the days, pre-pandemic, where once homework was completed, we were free for the day, I opened my laptop to start the assignment outline. These days, it seems like the line between personal time and classes is blurred. Of course, it must be prefaced that online learning isn’t chalk full of negatives. I personally enjoy being able to take classes from the comfort of my cozy desk. But, while essential, there are challenges to online learning.
More than assigning homework, many teachers are increasing the number of assignments, tasking due dates during breaks, and often assuming we’re able to be contacted at all hours of the day. While we may only be in virtual class for a few hours each day, the extra internet time spent on assignments, online textbook readings, group projects and emails quickly add up. This e-learning slowly becomes invasive and fails to give students a needed break from screen time. Poor posture and blue light glasses from Amazon? Check and check. In this virtual world where notifications flood our inboxes at all hours of the day, how can we maintain a schedule that still lets us have our free time, or at least a break from the screens?
Granted, I’m not a professional, but as a college student I’ve had my fair share of busy schedules. For what they’re worth, here are some words to the wise.
Time management is key.
Organizing what I have due and what's on deck helps to cohesively get all of my work written down, to visualize what I have to get done. I prefer the app Notion for all of my organization needs, but even the calendar app on an iPhone works immensely. Color coding and bright backgrounds are always a nice touch to a crowded calendar.
If possible, try to get some fresh air.
Even if that means opening a window or walking to campus to get a COVID-19 test. I do group workouts with my roommates and while they’re more laughing than exercise, it completely takes my mind off work.
Most importantly, take a break.
Breaks can look like anything: chatting with roommates, putting on a happy Spotify playlist or making a snack, all of which are simple activities that can help refresh me from my screen-time blues.
It can be easy to let the endless tasks of online learning overwhelm us. But it can make all the difference to take time out of the day to separate ourselves from our work, and maybe even spend some time on the couch.