How to Be a Successful Student During a Pandemic 

It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. In the midst of all this uncertainty, one thing remains the same: the importance of education. You are not alone if you are feeling overwhelmed by your workload and online classes and all you can think about is “I have to do assignments,” “I have to write my essay.”

If you are a student, you may be wondering how you can be successful during this time. Here are some tips to help you thrive during a pandemic:

productivty during covid

Keep Up with Classwork

It may be easy to overlook the importance of this suggestion given the chaos of a pandemic, but it is critical to remember that keeping up with your classwork is in your best interest. It may seem like there is little relevance between your studies and the current situation, but the skills you learn in classes and the qualifications you earn will serve you well in whatever post-pandemic world emerges.

Many students seem to feel that their classes are irrelevant or unnecessary and that they have more important things to focus on. However, it is vital to remember that students who graduate are far more likely to have a greater number of employment opportunities, as well as better pay and benefits. Additionally, the knowledge you gain throughout your classes will help you to better understand unfolding events and the future world we will be living in.

Work Hard, Then Work Harder

If you are used to putting in minimal effort in class and still getting good grades, your standards may need adjusting. In a pandemic, there may be multiple cancellations due to COVID-19. If you only study when you can make it to the classroom, you will soon find yourself without many study options.

It is essential to learn how to efficiently study on your own; otherwise, you will be stuck with stacks of homework and tests with no idea how to complete them. 

Set reminder apps

Before the pandemic, you might have set reminder apps to remind you of important things, like paying bills or dentist appointments. Reactivate these apps now, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. Set a timer to help you study.

Understand the material

Spend time at the beginning of each study session explaining the material out loud. It will help you understand it and remember it better. Quiz yourself.

Create your own study sheets or flashcards

Whenever you read a chapter from a textbook, before turning the page write a summary of the chapter on a sheet of paper or on a flashcard sheet. Rewrite it as you read the next chapter. This will help you understand and recall the material presented in both chapters.

Connect concepts

If two concepts are rarely studied separately in a textbook, it is helpful to study them together. Connecting ideas will help you see the overall picture and help you memorize major concepts.

Find alternatives

Even if your school is continuing to operate despite the pandemic, there may be many barriers preventing you from getting to class. Alternate school schedules, teacher shortages, and cancelled classes mean that you may only have a few good opportunities to make it to the classroom.

Instead of stressing about getting to class when you can, explore alternative options. Courses offered online, tutoring sessions at school, and books and DVDs are all good alternatives that can help you gain a better understanding of the material and earn good grades.

Be creative

There are all kinds of ways to study that you may not have tried before. Music, art, taped lectures, online courses, and DVDs are all good alternatives to the traditional classroom setting. If you try one method and it doesn’t work for you, then try another. It will take some experimenting to find what works for you and how to organize your studying in this particularly trying time.

Don’t be afraid to mix up the format either; if you’re studying biology, maybe a lecture on DVD is a good start, but you also should invite friends over for an evening of cultural studies or research to transcribe and both enhance your understanding of the material and your confidence in class.

Find a place to study

With quarantine making it nearly impossible to get to the library or campus bookstore, the library at your house (and maybe that stack of books next to your bed) might just become your new favorite study spot.

If you’re allowed, taking over the kitchen table or a comfy couch may be even better. Having a dedicated study space is key to getting good grades, and given the distractions around you now, being somewhere that is at least somewhat isolated will help you focus. If you have a study group, meeting in a separate space may help encourage quiet so that everyone can hear what the others are saying.

The kitchen is not only ideal because of its amenities (free boiling water, hot non-fried food, ice cream scoop), but also because everyone there is working toward the same goal: staying healthy, safe, and academically successful.

Pick a time to study that works for you

Many students get busy during the week and then whittle away an entire evening trying to focus on homework. It’s better to pick a specific time each day (late afternoon or early evening works for many students) and commit to studying then.

Setting aside that time each day will allow you to concentrate on the work at hand without being pulled in a dozen different directions at once. If your job or other obligations prevent you from setting this kind of schedule, try to pick specific times for specific kinds of homework (i.e., one half hour for homework, one half hour for study group work, and one half hour for reading).

Stick with your plan, even if people are distracting you or you get bored or tired (all of which can happen in just one-half hour). Focus on getting what you can get done—and then move on to the next task or maybe even stop for the day. 

Join a study group

The calling out of quarantine assignments and numerous tests has most students dreading the coming semester. However, it is possible that if you band together with some friends and form a study group, you will be able to cover more material in less time.

Study groups aren’t just for those who struggle in class either; advanced students can benefit as well. Having a study group will ensure you have access to all the material once, and if you talk it through several times, you will be less likely to forget any of it. 

The benefits of studying together will also extend beyond class. With the COVID-19 pandemic cutting into your available time, it is valuable to maximize each study session. Being in a study group allows you to get questions answered and homework checked twice over instead of once.

Gather as many friends as you can (including people from other classes) to study a chapter or topic together. Not only is it a good way to learn, but it can make studying more fun and less of a dreaded task. Exchange disks or make internet research dates.

It is easy to feel hopeless and depressed during a pandemic. Many students also report feeling isolated and stressed due to community quarantines. Effective social skills are an important part of your life and being in school can help you develop those skills.

Getting involved with clubs and student government or making new friends in classes can help relieve some of your isolation and stress. Being involved on campus also gives you the opportunity to make new friends with people who are also affected by the pandemic, making you less isolated and sad.

In conclusion, following these tips on how to be a successful student during a pandemic will help ease some of the challenges and anxieties that come with online learning. Although it may be tempting to spend all day in bed and give up on schoolwork, it’s crucial to remember that this is only a temporary situation.

By staying positive and maintaining a healthy routine, you’ll be able to get through this tough time and come out stronger than ever.


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