بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Assalamu Alaikum Everyone!
How are you doing? I hope you are having an amazing day wherever you are in the world! May Allah bless and shower you and all those you love with happiness and health.
Today's post will cover the second video I have uploaded on YouTube. By the way, thank you for the support I have received on my channel these past few days. May Allah show you happiness like you have showed me. Today’s post will walk about being successful doing online school. For most of us, the second semester of the previous year was online, which for some was a brand new experience. Whether it was a good or bad experience, none of us thought it would continue till now. Some of us are nervous to start off this school year as we will feel like we can’t be successful or productive during online learning. This should never be the case, because we are getting educated to be successful and productive. That is why, I have decided to gather some advice and tips to help you start this online school year on the right foot. I have used most of these tips in the past during online summer classes and most recently during my remote learning semester. This blog post will be in two parts. The first part will be on how to prepare and plan for online learning. While the second part will be on how to be productive and successful during online learning. Anyways, I hope you find this post helpful and you are able to use these tips this year.
To make sure that we are ready to start the new school year, we have to make sure we are fully equipped and prepared to begin this year. I have gathered some tips that I think will hopefully make our transition into the new school year much easier. I will highly suggest that you use these prep tips a week or two before school begin. This will help you have a smooth transition into your first week and those after smoothly.
- make a list of things you did well and things you could have done better in terms of your last experience with online learning
My very first tip that will help start our preparation on the right foot is for us to be aware of the things that must be done this time around. Most of us have already had our fair share with online learning, and so, from our previous experience we can break down the good habits and the bad habits we need to change or improve. In other words, make sure you are aware of what you did well and did not do to well last time around. For example, one habit that I am glad to have done is waking up early. It helped me get my day started much earlier and I was able to get lots of work done. Something that I want to improve on this time around is to stop procrastinating and saving work for the day after. Thus, I am going to take a note of this and increase my list of other good and bad habits I need to be aware of. Making this list will truly help you know what you need to get done to make the transition to online learning much easier.
- organize and declutter the space you will be working in/at
This next tip is one that must be done no matter what. Please take time before you begin your school year to declutter and organize the space you will be working in. This means to clean out your desk and throw away any unnecessary items or materials you won’t need for this school year. If you have any extra worksheets or old school documents, that you will no longer need, then throw them out. Make sure your desk or where you will be doing your school work is one that motivates you to do your work and not feel lazy. As well, when your work area is clean, tidy and organized, you will feel less stressed and cluttered. You won’t feel like you have a million things around you, instead you and your brain will be more at ease and ready to be productive. Besides your desk, you also want to declutter and organize the device you will be using for online school. Personally, over the past week and a bit, I have taken the time to make sure I clear out my laptop so that it is ready to have new documents and materials saved. I would also suggest for you to have folders (whether digital or physical) ready for them to be used as organizational tools throughout the school year. You can even take the time to look through your book bag, pencil case and anything else you feel like has to be decluttered and organized. I cannot tell you enough how decluttering and organizing your environment truly helps you stay sane and at mental peace.
- find an organization method that will help you stay focused and organized (AKA on top of your A game)
Organization is such a big topic and can be a whole blog post of its own. There are so many resources out there that give you advice and tips on being organized and how to choose the organizational method best for you. I would highly suggest you research some on your on time to see what works best for you. Personally, I do all my online school work on my laptop, so I have found that the best way to organize my work is through digital folders. I have all the folders on my laptop for the four subjects this semester. Because I have a MacBook, I am able to customize these folders into cute little icons, that way I have a little motivation to keep my stuff organized. With each subject folder, I will add more folders for each unit. Within those unit folders, I will have more folders that will identify, assignments, tests, projects, rubrics, homework, etc. This way I have no excuse for my stuff to be lost or cluttering my laptop. You can also use Google Drive where you can add folders and customize them by colour and then follow the exact same steps with creating more folders. This is just one organizational method that I find is most suitable for me and one I actually enjoy doing. You can use this method that I just mentioned, or research one that works best for you. It is so important for you to stay organized to stay on top of the game and be able to keep up with all your school work.
- make sure you are able to use the online learning platforms that your school will be using for remote learning
Having technical difficulties the first week back is not cute and we are not going to be aiming for that. That is why I suggest that you make sure you are able to use all the platforms for learning that your board or school assigned. As soon as you are able to log into the website, look through it, make sure you know how to use it and it works fine with no problem. If you do experience problems using it, make sure to contact the proper authority.
- download all the needed apps & materials for remote learning
Downloading all the necessary apps that you will be using for online learning is very important, as it is useful and can help you excel even more during online learning. The apps you use can be provided by your teacher, or you can find them yourself. A popular example is Khan Academy. Do your research and make sure to have them ready before hand. I would also suggest for you to download apps that monitor your progress and productivity. There are certain apps that help you stay focused and not distracted when doing your work. They do this by putting a ban on your apps for a certain period of time while you are working, that way you are not tempted to go on apps like TikTok. An app you should check out is Forest. It does the things that I just mentioned above in such a cute way. In which, each time you are productive you grow your tree, and for every time you are not your tree starts to die. Once you accumulate enough points from being productive, you get to plant an actual tree.
- read all your syllabi that your teachers and professors send/provide you in order to find information on the curriculum, grading, office hours, etc. (in detail)
For many of you, you will be receiving your course information a few days before beginning your actual classes. Most of the time, it will cover very useful information on the grading, attendance, assignments and more. Use this to your advantage and look through what you need to expect entering this school year. While you are looking through it, it will give you a chance to ask your teachers or professors for any questions you might have. So take the time to look through your syllabi or course information before hand or as soon as you are able to get it.
- add and highlight important dates such as, your upcoming assignments, projects, and test dates to your calendar and/or planner
This tip may not be for everyone, but if you do have information on important dates such as upcoming assignments, projects, test dates, etc. add those to your calendar or planner, whichever one you prefer to use. Having these dates blocked will help you be prepared on what to expect entering this school year. Once you are aware of these days prior to actually starting your classes, you have no excuse to miss any due dates.
- create your desired weekly schedule that you plan to follow once school starts
My final tip to help you transition into online learning smoothly is to plan and create the weekly schedule that you want to follow for when classes start. I will tell you more about why it is important to have a schedule that you want to follow very soon. In order to relieve yourself of having to do your schedule while you study as you maybe very busy, I suggest you create your schedule before hand, prior to actually beginning your classes. This weekly schedule may change as you move on with the semester, but it is easier to adjust your schedule than having to create one.
Now we are at the second part of this blog post, and it will cover how to be successful during online learning. I have compiled some tips that I took note of last semester and new ones I will be implementing this time around. If you truly want to be successful this year and get grades that will make you proud of yourself, then I would highly suggest following some or all the tips you will read in this section.
- have designated hours in which you will do your online school work (preferably in the morning)
One of the most important things that you must be aware of is designating specific hours of each day in which you will do your school work. Personally, I like to do my school work in the morning, that way I am able to get all my work done earlier. As well, doing your school work during specific times of each day, especially in the morning, will allow you to have some sort of structure for your day. You will also be taking your at home online learning more seriously, helping you to avoid procrastination, and increase productivity and awareness. You can even designate specific days in which you will do a specific task. For example, you can make Mondays for working on projects, and Fridays for catching up on lessons. Whatever the case is, you are organizing a specific time for each day in which you will take time to study. I also wanted to add that you want make sure that this chosen time is the same each day. So, if you chose to do your online learning at a certain time in the morning, then you will study at that time each morning. This will help keep your days structured and organized.
- start your day off on a good and happy note
That being said it is important that you start your day off right. Obviously, no one wants to ever do something whilst they are in a bad mood. Thus, I would suggest for you to do something in the morning that will make you excited to start your day. Personally, I like to wake up early in the morning, pray, get ready for the day and begin completing everything that I want to complete for the day. You can start your day off making a nice breakfast and eating good, that way you will be energized and fuelled to start the day. I also like to start my day being grateful. It is important that we are aware of are blessings, and are therefore grateful for them. One of the best habits one can develop for themselves is starting every morning reminiscing your blessings and listing a few things you are grateful for. This tip has definitely helped me start my mornings much happier. Whatever makes you feel excited to start your day off right, then definitely do that.
- keep your online learning schedule as consistent as possible
My next tip is to keep your online learning schedule as consistent and organized as possible. That means don’t decide to do English for example at 9AM but end up doing it at 10PM. Keeping your schedule consistent helps your brain stick to that subject better and not get bored or disconnected. You know how we have been talking about keeping structure to your day, well having a consistent schedule will help you keep the daily structure we want. Having your days structured will help you stay organized and stress free, as well as keep you focused on the things that you need to get done.
- finish and turn things in before they are actually due
My next tip for you is probably the most helpful one that will keep you on your A game. Whenever you have assignments or tests to hand in, try your best to hand them in a day or two or more before they are actually due. Knowing and convincing yourself that you have to hand in things before they are actually due will help you not worry about handing in things late. It will force you to stop procrastinating and work to get things done earlier. The stress that comes with deadlines approaching will be completely avoided if you do this step. It will remove the pressure you would otherwise have, and make it easier to plan for things, hence giving you a much better final product. Also, an added bonus, you literally will never get behind in work, and I think everyone wants that.
- keep all your assignments and other school work in one place
My next tip will extremely help you in terms of organization, and it is to keep all your assignments in one place. In terms of online school, that would mean to keep your assignments in one device, and as we said before try to create an organizational method for all the school work you will be getting. That way you will always know where you need to look back to for any assignments you need. Having your assignments organized in one place will help you not lose anything and not have to deal with the stress of such a thing happening.
- stop saying you will do it tomorrow, don’t procrastinate
- turn off your phone and avoid distractions
This next tip is a continuation of the last one and it is to turn your phone and any other distractions off while you are working. One of the biggest reasons why we might feel like we are not learning or that we are too lazy to actually learn during online school is due to the fact that we have so many distractions around us. Our phones are probably the biggest distractions we have, and we have to take it upon ourselves to become more responsible for when we use it. When you are sitting down to begin your online learning block, turn off your phone and put it away. Avoiding distractions will help you stay more focused on the task that you must complete. I know it will be hard sometimes to avoid using our phones, especially because some of us are literally addicted to it. If you are truly working towards being successful for this online school year, then push yourself to take this step.
- use your calendar and/or planner
Another organizational tip to help you make your transition to online learning smooth is using your calendars and planners. You know how we talked about prepping for online learning through highlighting important dates on your calendar or planner. Well, this is where they will come in handy. As we said, using your planner will help you stay organized and focused on what you need to get done and when. You won’t feel cluttered or like there are a million due dates you have to think about when they are organized and highlighted through the tool you will be using. You know exactly what to expect and it will hopefully help you not fall behind or not have time to prepare the assignment or whatever it is. They will pretty much help you stay on track.
- break big tasks into smaller ones
This is also one that we talked about slightly in our last blog post, and it is to break larger tasks into smaller and more manageable pieces. You want to start by looking at the big picture and make sure you have an idea of what your final product will look like. Through this, you want to plan out the steps you will take to make this final product a reality. You also want to make sure that these steps follow a logical order of what needs to be done first second and third. Then create a to do list of what needs to be done and when. Kind of like a mini deadline for each small task. That way you will help yourself stay more focused on completing each task. You want to make sure that you implement this into your daily schedule so you can remember to complete the tasks that you have made. Breaking larger tasks into smaller pieces will make the task much easier to complete, and you will feel accomplished after completing each small task, helping you strive to complete the next one until you are completely done the whole assignment.
- take 5 - 10 minute breaks while studying
This next one is very important especially when you will be doing school work for long periods of time. A few blog posts ago, I talked about the pomodoro method and how its a useful method that will help you stay focused and productive while doing an task that you have. Giving your brain a rest after learning is important if you truly want to be successful in learning the information. You can go for a walk, eat something, watch something, maybe even take a short nap. The important thing is you take breaks, so you will not feel like you are over studying.
- find a hobby to do that does not have to do with school (and try to avoid technology)
Anyways that was it for today’s blog post, I really hope you enjoyed reading it and learned something new. InshAllah you can take these tips into consideration. May Allah grant you all the best this school year, and with Allah's guidance, be confident that you will do well.
My Muslimah Mind
08 / 21 / 2020 at 12:30 PM