Updated: Aug 13, 2020
Starting the school year with the right supplies is always a must - and online learning is no exception! Finding a space that works well with your study schedule is my number one tip to succeed, along with supplies to keep you on task and focused while learning. So, here are my top online learning must haves to help you succeed this school year!
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BLUE LIGHT GLASSES
If you don’t own some already, blue light glasses are an essential item for successful online learning. Let’s be real - we already spend entirely too much time with our eyes on a screen outside of our normal day-to-day, and adding another 7 hours to the mix is far from ideal.
Blue light, the type of light that is emitted from your screen, can strain and cause negative effects on your eyes. As someone who has worn prescription glasses since the second grade, I am not trying to damage these fragile little things if I can avoid it.
While blue light glasses do not perfectly block all of the blue light coming from a screen, they are a physical reminder to keep your distance from your screen. Be sure to keep your distance from your screen whenever you can, and get into the healthy habit looking away from your screen about every 20 minutes. Looking at objects farther away actually relaxes your eyes, while focusing on things up close for long periods of time do the opposite.
Plus - to all your girls who styled plastic frames in elementary school for fashion reasons, you can find really cute and stylish pairs for a reasonable price. Total win!
Organization in college is everything. Finding a planner or agenda to keep you on track is my number one college tip. Find what works best for you! Whether it’s an online calendar or a physical book, get into a routine of organizing your life to meet your personal needs.
Because of the number of classes, assignments, meetings, and appointments there are to keep track of during the school year, I typically use both a physical and online planner to keep organized. It’s excessive, I know, but I am always adjusting how I keep track of the many different tasks I have at hand.
For school, Google Calendars is extremely organized and super convenient. You can pull up your schedule at any moment on any device - which is ideal. You have the option to color code events, receive notifications, and view per month, week, or day. My biggest piece of advice is to keep your calendars specific to what works for you, in order to keep down your stress level.
I keep two calendars, one for class times, meetings, and appointments, and the other for due dates and assignments. That way, the amount of events per day is manageable and easy to comprehend.
For assignments and tasks outside of school, I use a physical planner. There is definitely some crossover in my organization, but a physical planner is great to see what you need to get done by the end of the day. For me, this ranges from calling my dentist to sending an email to turning in a finished assignment.
Whether you are listening to a lecture or your favorite study playlist, headphones are the best way to reduce distractions around you and keep you from disturbing others. Regardless of the brand, reliable headphones can help keep you focused on your task at hand.
From the numerous lectures and Zoom calls I have had to sit through, I have seen all different kinds of headphones used on calls. To ease your mind, there is no specific type of headphones that you will need to match everyone else. Use headphones that are most comfortable for you! I love my AirPods, mostly because they are bluetooth. I have a few friends that love their Beats headphones because they are noise canceling. Or even the classic corded headphones will work perfectly.
Since having a backpack isn’t really a necessity, having a place to put what would be in your backpack, is key. Typically, you would need a place to put your notebooks and textbooks, a place for your computer and other electronics, and a place for pencils, pens, etc.
Depending on your workspace, the organization options are endless. Run to the dollar store and pick up some small containers for your smaller items. You can choose to store them in your desk, in a bin, or drawer nearby. Lean books up against your workspace or store them where you can reach. Take a Target trip or shop online for desk organizers, for your books, pencils, or items that don’t take up too much space.
Work with the area you have and find creative ways to keep things close by and grouped together. While on a Zoom call, you want to be sure everything you need is at your fingertips, just like having a backpack in class. When items have a home, it is much easier to clean your workspace and focus on your work!
THINGS TO MAKE YOUR SPACE YOUR OWN
Just like you would have anywhere else, find things to make your study space your own. Take some time to shop the Target $5 section and decorate your desk with cute picture frames, succulents, anything! I love my desk area - and the fact that I enjoy sitting there makes me want to get my work done.
Keep in mind that your study area is one where you will be listening to lectures and attending Zoom lectures with your video on. If you have the space, spruce up the area behind you and make it your own! Let your personality shine through your surroundings.
Research has proven that lighting can play a role in your academics. Cool lighting, or LED lighting, is better for learning, whereas, warm lighting or fluorescent lighting is better for relaxing. Have you ever wondered why your phone changes lighting at night? The warm light is better for relaxing your eyes! I can prove this to be true - I study best in environments with lots of natural lighting. Find what type of lighting works best for you and set up lighting that will set you up for success!