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Staying Motivated When Working from Home

By: Jon Cowen (he/him/his), Peer Success Leader, 2019-2020 

Read time: <5 minutes

Student life changed with the decision to shift to online learning amidst of the coronavirus pandemic. This shift to virtual learning creates a new, unique set of challenges, as we are suddenly working from home for the first time, full-time. It's easy to feel distracted at home with Netflix and Zoom being our main outlets for relaxation and socialization. Here are some of my personal strategies for staying motivated with school work while studying remotely. 

Establish a Routine

While it's unclear when normalcy will resume, one way to replicate it is by establishing a set daily routine. During the week I still try to wake up before 9 a.m. to start my day. I generally start by having my customary cup of coffee, which gives me the energy I need to make it through the day. While I am having my coffee, I make a list of what I want to accomplish for the day between my class and study schedule.

In addition, I find a way incorporate other cherished aspects of my at-school routine such as exercise. Running outdoors is a great at-home outlet, as well as body weight workouts on a yoga mat in my room.

Be sure to also incorporate some self-care and social time with friends in your at-home routine. While it is easy to feel disconnected from society during a stay-at-home order, I am able to connect with my friends via Zoom to get the social interaction I miss out on when I am not with them.  While so much of my life has been altered, this is one way I am able to have some form of normalcy.

Pick Up a New Hobby

During my time in quarantine, I have been learning how to cook. As a senior and someone who will not be living at home next year, it is very important for me to be self-sufficient.  Cooking is also a great way to limit my expenses, as it is significantly cheaper than eating out (not like any restaurants are open for dine-in) or getting take-out. In addition, I have been able to learn healthy recipes which have allowed me to eat cleaner. This gives me more energy throughout the day and helps me during my workouts.

Take Advantage of Your Academic Resources

Even though classes are no longer in person, there are still many educational resources that can enhance your academic experience. There's the Student Success Virtual Learning Student Support webpage, which links to virtual success coaching, peer tutoring, supplemental instruction and more.

Zoom also provides many academic resources such as recorded classes (if your professor is doing that), the ability to attend virtual office hours with professors, and advising. With recorded lectures, the ability to re-watch can help you focus during class, listen carefully, and not feel pressured to write down every detail during the session. Virtual office hours can help you cultivate a relationship with your professors and enable you to communicate about issues you may be having with the online learning experience. Your professors want you to succeed and understand these extraneous circumstances. Academic and career advisors are still available for meetings with students who are having uncertainty or need guidance about this point in their academic journey.

Zoom can also be an outlet for peer support. Schedule a study group with friends or classmates or connect with a tutor or Peer Success Leader to stay on track and prepare for finals. 

Understand the Big Picture

While this has been a frustrating time for many, it has also been a great reminder to value what we have.  This isolation has helped me develop a great appreciation for certain aspects my life that I used to take for granted such as my education and time with friends. Although my senior year came to an end sooner than expected, I have had an amazing experience at Tulane. I am grateful for the friendships that I made and look forward to seeing my classmates again.

Consider the value of this time at home on your own. There is now lots of extra time that you can put towards your learning efforts. This time potentially could be a great opportunity to raise your GPA. Visualize where you want to be at this time next semester, presumably when the quarantine is over. Think about what our goals are in the future and what we need to do in order to accomplish them.