Dear new students -“ZOOM” into some good habits I have gained while attending online classes

You know that this fall semester will be primarily online classes. As current students, it can be challenging for us to change our routine from going to campus every day to taking courses from home. However, for newcomers, imagine how tough it must be to shift one’s mindset from flying to Japan to starting college in one’s home country. In my experience, there are many good habits you can gain while taking classes from home. In this article, I will introduce some of the patterns I have tried during the last online semester as a way to maintain an effective learning process and a healthy lifestyle. Anyone can try these patterns, including APU’s new students.

1. Preparing a study corner.

Staying in your bed and enjoying the comfort of your mattress while listening to lectures on Zoom can be very alluring, especially for students for whom 8:45 AM Japan Standard Time is the early morning or even midnight in their home country. In my case, as I consider myself a night owl rather than an early bird, attending first period classes at 6:45 AM Vietnam time is quite a problem. Therefore, I try to find motivation to study by having a tidy desk with all necessary writing utensils and a cup of tea. I also placed some adorable accessories on the table to help uplift my mood and keep the view fun from looking at the screen for extended periods.

My study corner at home

2. Exercising.

Before quarantine, I used to follow an unhealthy lifestyle of eating junk food and doing no exercise. I kept telling myself: “Maybe going around campus, heading to the bus stop or running errands is enough exercise for a day!” But everyone knows that is not valid! Seeing people look energetic and, most importantly, grow much healthier during quarantine by doing home-friendly exercise, I was curious and decided to try it for myself. Surprisingly, though I do not see much difference in terms of my appearance, my mood, focus, and productivity have increased tremendously! So, try doing some exercise, guys. It can also be a great way to stretch out your muscles for a day after attending many continuous online classes.

My workout equipment at home

3.Not being afraid to ask questions.

Although APU is a multicultural environment where you can attain knowledge from many countries around the globe through friends as well as professors, I was not comfortable with sharing my opinions and ideas with a lot of people. Zoom acts as a platform for me to freely ask questions while simultaneously participating in more group discussions using the Breakout room function. Besides, as the strength of an Internet connection might vary from place to place, professors usually provide recorded versions of meetings, giving us a chance to take a more throughout look at them after classes. With all these factors combined, though communication online can be a bit inconvenient, I see myself reaching out to others more and understanding lectures more deeply.

A typical Zoom meeting

4. Staying disciplined.

Since you can cut down on transportation time, such as that from home to campus or from classroom to classroom, you might think that you have plenty of time on your hands. However, that doesn’t mean you should log on one minute before class starts, or just do whatever you want that day. Such a practice might lower your concentration in class because you haven’t calmed down quick enough, and also cause you to cram during midterms and finals. Usually, I will try to “come to class” at least five minutes earlier and try to plan out what tasks I should finish that day to avoid cramming near deadlines.

What my schedule looks like

5. Checking APU’s information hub regularly.

Being an APU student, the best way to get the latest information is through main channels, such as Campus Terminal, Manaba, Outlook, and other social media accounts. This habit is even more critical when taking classes online, as it is now the only way to contact professors and other departments of our university. Since taking courses on Zoom, I got into the habit of checking APU’s information hub twice a day, once in the morning before class and again after finishing all periods that day.

News updates on Campus Terminal

Although these tips might be familiar to you (and some of you might even be regularly practicing all of them), I hope my experience provides some motivation to those of you who need it! Every habit is hard to start at first, but as you get used to it, the results might come sooner than you think! Let’s have a productive semester online, and happy Zoom-ing, guys! Hope to see everyone on campus soon!