So you’ve signed up for online classes! Now it’s time to get organized. You are not a student destined to sit in classes in specific rooms at specific times, but the very flexibility you have learning at a distance creates study space issues that you have to address.
You may have chosen online classes so that you can work from home or build your coursework into your travel schedule. You may even be planning to study from your favorite coffee shop or take tests in your pajamas! If you are getting up right now to go and make a snack, I can’t stop you! That’s the benefit of being an online student. However, that benefit can become a problem if you let distractions like family, phone calls, and other responsibilities constantly interrupt you. Things can become even more overwhelming if you are also disorganized.
Having control over your study time means that YOU must plan time to study and get your assignments completed. It may even require setting up a study space where you can work without interruptions. At the very least, you will need a container or two to keep what you are working on within easy reach. When it’s time to work on your Colorado State University classes, don’t cut that time short by constantly searching for your syllabi, papers or books. That gets really frustrating!
Some online students find that setting up a traditional desk and comfortable chair is the way to go. They make sure they always have a designated space with supplies, computers, and printer waiting for them. They may even enjoy surrounding themselves with particular music, art, or candles. A good source of light and a handy dictionary is most important to other students. Even if you move your study space from home to coffee shop, most students find it necessary to have labeled milk crates or boxes to organize the supplies and books they need to work on their classes. If it helps keep you organized and prepared to do your work, the trunk of your car can be the place you keep everything handy! (You’d be surprised how many people do this!)
Once you decide where and how you will study, you also need to make some ground rules about WHEN you will study. It’s a good idea to actually write down these rules and times. Use a planner to schedule the hours you will work on your classes just as you would schedule any other appointment (this works really well for your fitness plans too!) Don’t miss your appointment or get started too late! If you have to make a change, make sure that you reschedule the study time that you missed.
To be a successful student, you need to carve out mental space to concentrate, read, think, and focus. You also need to plan the physical space that you use. We would love to hear about how you make it work for you! How and where do you study? Have you set up a specific study place? What are your ground rules? Show us a photo of your favorite spot! Does having your dog curled up next to you help you understand Math? Do you have an effective sign or way of letting family and friends know that you need to concentrate? What supplies do you keep nearby? Does starting your study time require a snack? By the way, these same skills you are learning now also work really well in a distributed work environment. It’s all about managing time, space, and boundaries!
Your desire to make choices about how you study probably led you to learn online at Colorado State, but now you must choose to be an organized student. Your solutions can most likely help other students, so share how you make a space and place to study!
Learning that fits your life!