Back to School: 5 Tips You Didn't Know You Needed for Remote Learning/Work

Written By: Brianna Zhou

Brianna Zhou is a third-year student at the University of Washington. She is currently a biochemistry major looking to work in the field of medicine and research when she graduates.

"I remember back in high school, I didn't know who to go to, or what resources I could use outside of school to navigate my way into college. Hey Mentor gave me the comfort and guidance when I needed it, so with my experience, I want to do the same for those who currently feel the same way as I did a few years ago."


1. Prepare Yourself like a Normal Day - or more!

As if Covid hasn’t put a lot of our plans to an end already, we’re now looking at a much longer time in Online Work/Learning than expected back when it all started. That’s why it’s important that we take whatever we can still control in our hands and make the most of it, starting with our daily routines.

Set your alarms early as if you need to reserve time in the morning to get to where you need to be. Put your alarm somewhere far enough that you need to get out of bed to reach and still be able to hear it. Change into an outfit you’re not embarrassed to wear in public, make yourself coffee, breakfast or whatever gives you energy, etc. - just anything you do as your normal morning ritual. This will help keep you in the mindset of work and stay on top of things you need to do during the day, so that you don’t feel tired in bed all day and get your body moving.


2. Turn off your phone Wi-Fi

Ever since quarantine started, I found myself scrolling away my time even more thanks to all that’s going on in the world right now that’s all over my feed, and my newfound entertainment, Tiktok.

But after many laggy Zoom calls and sharing the Wi-Fi with my housemates, I’ve found a great way to stay focused and connected - by turning off Wi-Fi on your phone. It’s a win-win situation really, since you’ll stop getting so many notifications or be able to access social media and games during your online class, AND you’ll have one less device taking up bandwidth. Say goodbye to distractions and unstable connections!


3. Invest in a Physical Planner/Notebook

Technology is convenient nowadays, where you can pretty much download an app for anything. But with almost everything being online now, there is barely anything physical to experience. Writing stuff down on paper has also been proven to help retain more information!

Just go to your usual office/school supply store, pick out a planner that suits your organizational style, and maybe some colored pens as an extra touch of coordinating! I usually pick one that’s got bigger space for daily/weekly planning and a simple design to keep it neat and straightforward. Try to set specific time blocks for when you can work the most and finish around the same time everyday.


4. It’s okay to take breaks!

While we can’t stress enough about the seemingly-endless amounts of assignments we get, it’s important to balance that out with something relaxing or a sense of joy. Between each productive time block you set in your planner, also plan out the times you can take a break.

You can follow the Pomodoro method where you strictly work for 25 minutes and take 5-minute breaks on repeat, or create a more individualized schedule that works for you, as long as there’s more time put in your work than your breaks. These activities include, but are not limited to: taking a walk around the neighborhood, eating a snack, or have a moment of checking up on your family and friends.


5. Connections Are at Our Fingertips

We’re all going through different challenges, but one thing that’s among the most valuable we have more or less of, is time. It’s never too early to start reaching out to people you’ve been wanting to connect with, and our generation depends on it more than ever.

Whether you’re in high school, college, or out in the workforce already, it’s important to make as many connections as you can. This can range from your social circle, teachers/professors, to professionals of your interested field. Remote work has made it harder for us to see people face-to-face, but there’s also online platforms like social media, LinkedIn, or even direct contact information. A small greeting and introduction can go a long way, and will open up future opportunities that might be waiting for you at the end of this remote work journey.


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