5 Tips for Finishing the Semester Strong From Home

setting up a conducive work station at home
Build success for finishing the semester by creating a dedicated work station.

You’ve heard it countless times by now, but I’ll say it again: these trying times are unprecedented. The COVID-19 virus and the public health crisis has dominated the news and semester for months now, and this spring semester has been unlike any before.

For some students, online and distance education classes are a totally new way of learning. You may have seen blogs that offer tips for taking online classes, or have heard about how they can have many benefits, such as flexibility and being able to pace yourself. However, doing a semester of fully online classes can be completely different than signing up for one or two a semester.

The public health crisis put a halt on many events, but in classic Southwestern College style, students and employees have come up with creative ways to continue on with the semester and provide resources for students.

With all the changes to your classes, events and schedule, it’s as important as ever to know your college resources and ace those final projects and exams. Here are five ways to help you finish the semester strong from home.

Take Advantage of College Resources 

All in-person meetings are cancelled for the semester, but students are still able to chat with counselors online. The Ask A Counselor feature lets you chat with counselors for questions like course offerings, degree or transfer requirements and other academic questions.

The tutors from the Academic Success Center are also ready to help students prepare for finals from home. One-on-one tutoring is available online for a variety of subjects such as engineering, writing and math through the Learning Assistant Services.

“Our previously on-ground tutors are able to meet with students live, one-on-one and in small groups, and use virtual whiteboards to help students learn through active engagement with their subject matter,” said Andrew Rempt, Academic Success Center coordinator. “The service is offered on a drop-in basis, and we also have appointments.”

For a complete list of all the college and community resources available, check out the college’s Information for Students page.

Keep in Communication with Your Professors 

For many professors, teaching online classes and adjusting to the changes in the semester is a learning curve as well. Your professors want to help you and see you succeed, so it’s important to let them know if you need extra help on that tricky math question or clarification on due dates.

“I want students to know that we are here for them,” said Ravisha Kuruvadi, math professor. “Our job as professors is to help our students learn and understand the material, and if something isn’t clear or making sense, never hesitate to reach out and ask for help.”

Emailing your professor to ask a few questions or clarify class material can go a long way when it comes to studying and preparing for finals.

Find a Study Routine that Works for You 

By this point in the semester, you’ve probably gotten pretty used to navigating through Canvas and logging into Zoom everyday. But chances are you might need to switch up your study routine for final exams. Assigning a specific area in your house as your work area and having a solid study routine does a world of good when it comes to staying motivated with your work. Try getting creative with your space by organizing your supplies, using a calendar and decorating to make your study nook more inviting. Making sure your coffee mug is always full while studying for finals doesn’t hurt, either.

Take a Break From the Screen

Chances are you spent enough time posting, texting and refreshing your social media feed even before classes went fully online. Since many students are spending even more time in front of a screen now, taking breaks while you study can actually make you more productive. It allows your mind to take a rest and gives you more focus and energy while you work. Before you zoom away from your computer, it doesn’t hurt to set a timer on your phone so you’ll know when it’s time to get back to work instead of getting distracted and staying on an extra-long break (yes, I know this from personal experience). Going for a walk, playing with a pet, trying out a recipe or just stepping away from your computer for a bit in general does wonders for your mind (and eyes).

Use Campus Mental Health Resources 

Southwestern College understands that there are many factors that might hinder you from being able to function at your best during this time, such as mental health issues, financial or food insecurities and other circumstances. If you need to talk with someone or want to know what resources are available to you for any situation, check out the college’s Personal and Behavioral Health page.