Let Others In

You are not alone in having to rethink your learning and study habits. Sharing your successes and struggles with others can help you all to maintain motivation and accountability.

Share your schedule and plan with your roommates, friends, and family.

Let others in your household know when and where you plan to work; this communication will underscore the importance of your study time. Have a conversation with them before the semester starts and let them know how they can support you in successfully completing the semester. Be explicit about the places and times you’ll be working as well as the reasons why you need uninterrupted time for schoolwork.

Remind people around you (and yourself!) with physical cues like having your “Berea box” on display, a “WORKING” sign on a door or table or having your headphones.  These cues will help but may backfire if they think they can distract you. Try to establish mutually respectful ground rules about when, why, and how you can be disturbed. Regularly remind others of your schedule and let them know when big projects or exams are coming up.

Create a study group, schedule a “study hall,” or find a study-buddy.

Your classmates are also attempting to structure and adjust their study time. If you’ve found in-person study groups successful in the past, reach out to friends or classmates who may be interested in meeting for study sessions through Zoom. This doesn’t mean that you spend three hours a week sitting quietly on Zoom; it may simply mean that you designate a time to check in with your group mates (via email, Microsoft Teams, etc.) to provide progress updates.

Front load course participation.

If you worry that you might “ghost” a particular course as the semester goes on, set up an accountability structure for yourself by heavily participating in that course early on. You will be less likely to “fade into the background” if you remain visible in Zoom meetings, stay active in discussion boards, and meet with classmates and/or the course’s TA regularly. This activity will ensure that you establish a presence in the class, and others will take notice if you’re missing. That positive social pressure can help to keep you on track. Not following these steps may lead you to skip assignments and class meetings.