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How to succeed at “Zoom University”

By  Samantha Minnehan

Having half of our semester online due to the COVID-19 outbreak was a big shock to The University of Tampa community. These past couple weeks have felt like an eternity, sitting in the house and not having classes to go to everyday. I can’t believe it’s been less than a month since the majority of students have left campus, and the university decided to move classes online for the rest of the semester. This online format has since earned the nickname ‘Zoom University’ due to the use of Zoom conference calls to deliver lectures and in-class discussions. 

UT did not previously offer online classes before this pandemic which has made the transition for students and professors especially difficult. This is new territory for everyone. I myself have had a difficult time transitioning to taking my classes from home. The first week was a mess; I had no motivation to do any school work because it was entirely up to me whether I wanted to work on my assignments and none of my professors opted to take attendance on Zoom. Having no scheduled class time to hold myself responsible for left me lazy, but I knew I was going to have to make some changes if I didn’t want my grades to suffer.

I’m sure I am not the only student struggling with transition so I decided to try changing up my habits to see if I could figure out a way to stay productive and on top of my responsibilities. 

Habit Change #1: Do your homework around the same time every day

By designating a certain timeframe to do my homework in, I felt more able to hold myself  accountable for what I was doing. I normally wake up around 10:00 a.m. everyday and I put my laptop next to my bed so schoolwork is the first thing I think about when I wake up. I do my schoolwork for two to three hours on weekday mornings. I prefer to do it first thing in the morning because it feels similar to waking up and getting ready to go to class, plus I get it over with before I get any ideas about procrastinating. 

Habit Change #2: Write down all your assignments with due dates

Normally I would only write down homework and the dates of big projects, but now that everything is “homework” it is important to keep track of everything that needs to be done including making personal due dates for watching taped lectures or doing your readings because even though no one is going to be checking that you did all these things, it is essential to make sure you understand the material not just complete the graded work. By writing everything down with due dates it gives you an idea of what you should be doing and when. Being able to check things off my list gave me a sense of accomplishment and motivated me to continue doing more work. It also allows you to actually feel relaxed when you are doing other things as opposed to procrastinating and knowing you have work looming over you in the near future. 

Habit Change #3: Check your school email multiple times a day

Before online classes I would check my school email about once every other day. At the time this was fine because I would receive the majority of important information from my professors  in class. Now that we do not have face-to-face time with our professors, making sure we have updated information about assignments, due dates, and Zoom conferences is vital to ensuring you know what you are being held responsible for. There are constant changes in the ways professors are teaching their classes online and it’s important to be on the same page to avoid confusion.

Samantha Minnehan can be reached at samantha.minnehan@spartans.ut.edu

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