Students adapt time management skills for online classes

Life as a college student is hard enough to manage, with factors such as jobs, family commitments, social life and relaxing being activities students need to make time for. Then add on the global Covid-19 pandemic, nationwide protests against police brutality, escalating climate change and an impending presidential election and you have a glimpse into the life of a college student in 2020. 

The current state of the world makes it difficult to discern what one should focus on at any given time. Different DePaul University students have different ways, with varying levels of success, of managing their time. Coming back to school this quarter has been a difficult adjustment for many students, especially with many classes being held remotely. 

“I’ve been trying to keep a positive attitude, but online classes are tough. Honestly with everything going on it’s hard to focus and I’ve been drinking more to cope,” said DePaul Alumn Will Sujak. 

If you are struggling with time management on top of everything going on, there are different methods to organize yourself. 

“Quarantine makes it so hard to stick to a routine, even for me. I would recommend the “Pomodoro” technique which consists of setting up specific chunks of time to focus really hard. This tactic is helpful because it allows for periods of distraction, which leads to less burnout,” therapist Liv Link said.

And different methods work for different people. 

“When I get a schedule or syllabus for my class, I put everything into a calendar application on my phone so I can keep track of when things are due and when exams are,” said graduate student Taylor Bevel.

Utilizing the tools you are already comfortable with, such as your phone calendar applications and written planners can be very helpful.

“I usually try to cram everything into the weekdays so I can have time to relax on the weekends. I find it helpful to wake up and do it right away otherwise I’ll be less motivated as the day goes on,” Bevel said.

Thinking about how you work best can be helpful in creating a personal strategy for getting work done remotely. Many classes that are online are more flexible than an in-person class would be, so it is possible to use that to your advantage. Determining when you feel the most productive is important, as well as what environment feels the most conducive to learning. 

“Whether you want to call it discipline or an innate stubbornness, I’ve been pretty good about staying on top of things in a virtual environment,” recent DePaul (?) graduate Colin Reineberg said. “I sort of bribe myself into getting one thing done like, I’ll say after I get this done, I can get another cup of coffee, and then I’ll use that momentum to get other things done. And I know the more I get done the greater my feeling of accomplishment will be, so I use that.”

Finding small sources of motivation are important when there isn’t an outside force, like a required class meeting time and a professor physically being there to guide students. Due to Covid-19, most of DePaul’s classes are being held remotely via Zoom unless in-person participation is crucial to the quality of the class. Many students have praised DePaul’s aggressive response to covid compared to other universities. Many colleges, such as Columbia College Chicago and Bradley University in Peoria decided to continue with in-person classes this fall with varying degrees of success.

Many DePaul students are juggling work as well as school, and open communication with your professors is important, especially while learning virtually. Many professors are very accommodative of students in different ways, such as making classes not have mandatory attendance and even being more flexible with deadlines. DePaul as a whole is also implementing the option for students to select “Pass/Fail” options for as many of their classes as they choose, and the deadline to elect to take a class for a pass/fail grade is 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 5, 2020. 

With so much going on this year, classes at DePaul will be different. However, that doesn’t have to mean they will be more difficult. With different personal strategies and methods of managing time while working remotely, students can adapt working skills that work best for them.