March 2, 2021

Maintaining Motivation During Virtual Learning

(Featured image courtesy of Julia M Cameron via Pexels)

While remote classes are unfortunately still required, Zoom calls and iLearn discussion forums have certainly lost whatever novelty that once made them appealing. However, looking ahead towards a semester full of virtual learning doesn’t have to be a discouraging prospect.

Here are a few tips to help Capital students maximize the potential of the Spring 2021 semester:   

1. Try to stay focused during Zoom calls.

We’ve all been there—some days the lecture seems particularly dry, and it’s all too easy to minimize Zoom and click over to a Buzzfeed Quiz. While this option’s omnipresence can make it tempting, multitasking during video calls overloads your brain, draining energy. This leads to Zoom fatigue, which drains motivation in general. Also, if you pay attention in class, you’ll probably have to do less studying later.

2. Find time to get away from screens.

While the struggle of limiting screen time has only been amplified by the pandemic, so too has its importance. The Mayo Clinic reports that reducing screen time can improve mood and physical health, so try to find the time to disconnect. Of course, when students are engaged in online school, stepping away from screens becomes more difficult. Phone apps such as Flora, which has users set a focus timer, can help students to avoid the distractions of social media. With Flora, leaving the app before the timer runs out will kill an animated tree, providing a measure of accountability.

3. Make a point to leave your residence.

With fewer in-person classes and organization events, it can be hard to find an excuse to leave one’s place of residence for an extended period of time. I get it. However, spending the entire day in the same surroundings becomes monotonous quickly, and it’s easier to get distracted in your room. Instead, try taking your homework to Cap Grounds or the library; it’s possible to social distance while you study in both of these places. The change of scenery will help to lift your spirits, and you might even run into a friend on the way.

4. Incorporate movement into your day.

It’s always been true that regular exercise can improve your mood and general state of mind, but it’s understandable if you don’t feel comfortable going to the gym or a workout class. Lots of free workout videos are available on YouTube—HASfit and Yoga by Adriene are just two popular examples. Also, the streets of Bexley and nearby Wolfe Park are great places for a walk or jog, if the weather permits.

5. Prioritize spending time with friends.

The pandemic has certainly made it challenging to have social interactions, but you don’t have to break COVID guidelines in order to meet up with friends. You and your friend group can find an unused classroom and hold a movie night, or simply just catch up. If you’d prefer not to meet in-person, computer games such as the ones offered by Jackbox TV can help to add variety to a virtual hangout. Also, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime all now have a “watch party” feature where you and your friends can watch the same movie at the same exact time in different locations, with an added chat feature for commentary.

Mental health is a real, live thing that can hinder a lot of aspects in one’s life, especially with the current climate. The best way to get through it is to make the most of the smaller luxuries in life and just take it day by day.

  • Emily is a sophomore English literature major at Capital, and a reporter and distribution manager for the Chimes. When she's not carting papers around campus, Emily enjoys watching Jeopardy, bothering her cats, and eating mac and cheese. edietz@capital.edu.

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