More than 150 universities have closed in the United States in the months since the Coronavirus outbreak began.
This has been a major hit to everyone in these communities, whether you’re losing your only form of housing or you’re a senior who won’t get to see their friends at school ever again.
But most importantly… now you feel your grades plummeting and you’re wondering how you can maintain your grades during the Coronavirus.
With everything changing around us, many colleges have opted not to change their grading practices, to keep some things consistent.
It’s easy to feel lost and confused during times of uncertainty.
In addition to worrying about the surge in new cases day over day and being forced to socially distance, how can you not worry about how your grades will maintain when making the switch from on-campus to online classes?
It’s a lot to take in, and it’s all too easy to let classwork slide.
The good news: Coronavirus may be strong, but college students are stronger.
8 ways to maintain your GPA while taking online classes
1. Buy a planner
Even if you’ve never used a planner before, this will help you immediately. Make sure you don’t get pulled into the chaos by using a planner to keep track of your assignment due dates and what work needs to get done on specific days.
School is still (if not more) important now that your whole life has been flipped upside down. Having a plan for moving forward can make a huge difference in reaching your goals.
The Rae Dunn planners, which you can find on Amazon and usually at T.J. Maxx/Marshalls/Homegoods are affordable and effective. You can get one on Amazon for under $10.
There are also plenty of apps that serve the same function as a traditional planner.
My Study Life is great because you can input all of your assignments and it sends you push-notifications right to your phone or smart watch before they need to be completed.
2. Don’t stay stuck in your house
It may seem like contradictory advice during a quarantine, but you don’t have to stay in your house 24/7 to stay safe.
On nice days, go to the park or hang out on a friend’s lawn (staying six feet apart from one another, of course).
Use this time to enjoy the simplicity of fresh air and sunlight, and appreciate how beneficial these can be for boosting your overall mood and motivation.
Be safe and don’t go anywhere that’s overly crowded or where social distancing is impossible.
Your health is of the utmost importance, but you’d be surprised at how much a change of scenery can really impact your focus and grades, especially during the stress of this pandemic.
3. Hang out (and do homework) with your friends from home
Take this time to be with those people you haven’t seen while away at school. You’ll never get another opportunity quite like this, so take advantage of seeing the friends you grew up with.
It doesn’t matter if you’re taking similar classes, you can still hit the books together.
Whether you study together at a safe distance, or just hang out for a few hours, it’ll be worth your while. And hey, maybe you’ll learn something new at the same time!
4. Ask your professors if they are holding office hours
If your school is using technology like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts to hold your classes virtually, ask your professor if you can call them during office hours.
Even if you’ve never utilized your professors’ office hours before, it’s a great way to review tough material and make sure you didn’t miss anything during class.
Hopefully, with everyone’s schedules being freer, your professors can fit you into their schedules a little more easily. It’s likely they’ll enjoy talking to you as well, since they’re probably lacking human interaction just like you!
Don’t forget to check-in with your teaching assistants and learning assistants as well. They’re another great resource to help you out.
Use this as a time to better connect with your professors and peers and forge stronger relationships with these influential people.
Though you may feel tempted to become a hermit during the lockdown, human connection can make a big difference in helping everything seem a little more normal.
5. Ask your academic advisor if you can Zoom with them
Your academic advisor can still help you figure your life out remotely.
Use your call with them to ask if any of your university’s tutoring services are available remotely. (And if they aren’t, brownie points for planting that seed).
Your advisors know you’re stressed out, so just talk to them and let it all out. Next semester will come soon enough and, with it, second chances. The extra effort you’re putting into staying on top of your academics will show!
Just like with your professors, building these relationships even stronger during such an influential time will help you out later down the road.
Think of this as equity you’re building up that you can cash in when you need a favor or extra advice.
6. Get organized
Now’s the time to use up all of those highlighters and sticky notes that you bought freshman year.
Getting organized can drastically help you maintain and improve your grades.
Color-code your notes, sort your papers into easy-to-find folders, reread the slides from your professor, and take the best notes of your life now that you actually have the time!
This effort today could lay the groundwork for a great habit that will stay with you for years to come.
7. Find your perfect study spot at home
Find a comfortable space to complete your schoolwork assignments.
For some of us, it’s our bedroom. For others, it’s the kitchen table.
Whatever it may be, find the place that works best for you, even if you have to create a dedicated space.
Over time, you’ll find that sitting in a dedicated spot is all it takes to get in the “zone.”
There’s actually a theory behind this concept: If you keep your work and relaxation spaces separate, you’re much more likely to be focused or more relaxed depending on which space you’re occupying.
Here are even more ways to stay productive while taking online classes.
Maintaining and protecting your grades is a big deal right now, and it might be the only thing you have to put energy into, so you might as well try.
8. Keep your mental health in check
With everything that’s unfolding during this time of self-quarantine and social distancing, your mental health is at risk.
It’s rough being away from your friends, clubs, sororities/fraternities and, most importantly, familiar routines – especially when it was the last thing you were anticipating.
You should know that this is completely normal. (If you’re feeling like it’s not normal, here are some signs that you could be depressed).
It’s incredibly important that you don’t let your mental health take the hit.
Check in with yourself and learn when to stop and take a breather.
Try the practice of delaying gratification with something you might be looking forward to. Check out this video by Study with Jess on YouTube for tips on how to do this and better ways to focus.
Whether it’s going to therapy or just taking some extra time for yourself, make yourself your number one priority. The more insight you have into your mental health, the more control you’ll have over all the rest.