Creating a Schedule (and Sticking to It!)

A sample student Google calendar for October 2020 is shown. There are multiple weekly Zoom meetings listed, as well as study group sessions. The calendar is white, and events are color-coded with red, blue, green, and pink.

As you now know, WOU will be conducting classes 95% online for the upcoming fall term. Some creative arts classes and lab portions of some courses will be meeting in person, with appropriate physical distancing and safety measures in place. What this means is that, for the majority of students, fall term will be entirely online, and for others, fall term will be mostly online. If you’re a returning student, you probably faced some challenges during spring term, as the sudden shift to distance learning was fairly drastic. New or transfer students may have faced similar challenges at their prior institution. To mitigate some of these challenges, and ensure a smooth (and educational!) fall term, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help students create a schedule that works for them.

Write everything down: This tip may seem unnecessary, but it works. Write down homework assignments, due dates, tests, etc. This can be done in a physical format, like a planner or journal, or it can be done online, through a service like Google Calendar. Writing important class assignments/tests in one space will help you recall what you need to do, and when it needs to be done. Plus, having everything compiled in one concise document beats searching through multiple syllabi!

Schedule realistically (and give yourself some breaks!): It’s so easy to schedule too much when you’re in charge of the structure of your days. We’re all a little too ambitious when we write down what we want to get done. Sure, we’d all love to get all our homework done on Monday afternoon, and then slack off for the rest of the week, but that’s just not feasible. Be realistic in what you can get done in a day, and schedule yourself some breaks. Grab some lunch, take a walk, call a friend, whatever you need to do to make sure you’re focused, motivated, and

Cut yourself some slack (but not too much slack): It’s easy to get discouraged from sticking to a schedule when you deviate from that schedule accidentally. Because of this, it is incredibly important to be gracious with yourself. It’s okay to mess up every now and then, it’s okay to not be the perfect student. It’s hard. Grant yourself some grace. On the flipside of this, however, it that you cannot cut yourself too much slack. Online school doesn’t mean you can skate through your classes, or that the term will be a write-off. Effort is still necessary.

Take some time off: One of the harder aspects of online schooling is that your non-academic space becomes your academic space. Prior to spring 2020, the separation between school and home was fairly easy, but since you are now likely attending classes from your home, it’s easy for the lines between the two to blur. One of the best ways to combat this is to schedule specific off time. That is, certain hours, or even days, where you put away the laptop and the textbooks. Scheduling this dedicated time off will help ensure you have a better school-life balance.

We hope you have a wonderful fall term!

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