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Maximizing Those Online Classes: 5 Tips From A Graduating College Senior

Cover Photo by Allyson Mendoza


Those were literally the last things I told my friends as I left the Ateneo de Manila University last March 9, 2020, after a long school day. That was a Monday. That was the day, if I remember it correctly, we first heard of the COVID-19 case in Greenhills in San Juan City. I expected there to be suspension of classes and hence I jokingly said those words, “See you whenever I see you!”

Little did I know, that was the end of onsite classes as we know it. The Ateneo ended its second semester early, and now, we all face a unique new reality: online classes.

If you’re a student like me or even a teacher, I just want to say I totally empathize with you. It’s difficult to adjust to this, but know that you aren’t alone. You are strong, you are independent, and you got this! I’m a graduating college senior right now, and here are five tips I’d love to share with you from that point of view:

1) Keep a schedule (and keep it early)

A lot of people will tell you to keep a schedule and rightly so! It helps you plan your day and makes sure you aren’t just lazing around without a sense of purpose. But I’d personally take it a step further: keep your schedule early. Wake up early and sleep early.

Wake up early and eat three meals a day (breakfast is very important for a healthy mind). Sleep early, too, so that you can train yourself to be more disciplined, which is key to acing and keeping up with online classes. I know it’s difficult to wake up and sleep early (I’m gen z as much as anyone is) but it’ll be worth it. In addition, even if some classes may be pre-recorded, I’d say still keep a schedule (say, from 10-11 a.m., focus on this subject and from 11-12 p.m., do another and so on).

2) Never underestimate those consultations

I think that consulting teachers is really underused and underrated. I relate to that really nervous feeling of walking up to a department office and asking if he or she is around but consultations are worth it!

Now, consultations will be done online. Styles may vary per teacher but from my experience, they might actually want us to consult them in the sense that it would be better to clarify things early before something unfavorable happens. So, be at peace when planning to consult. Shoot your shot because unlike confessing to your crush, most consultations actually work out really well!

3) Take notes as if you’re in a real life class

And I’d go further than that by encouraging you to take notes the traditional way: by paper. No matter how focused we may seem to be when doing notes on our devices, whether we realize it or not, many of us have come to associate the devices with other things like social media. These associations pull our attention away from work, and we clearly see this, for example, when we’re just so tempted to check Facebook for just a teeny-tiny harmless minute.

So, in my opinion at least, pen and paper are still the way to go. But if you find doing notes on a device most effective, go for it. As long as its moral, do whatever works for you!

4) Org work is life

What do student organizations and groups have to do with online classes? Quite a lot, from my point of view!

Orgs are one of the best things you can ever experience in college. I’ve been a member of Ateneo Celadon (the Chinese-Filipino college org of the school) and I can say I’ve learned to do actual, real life work: I’ve learned to handle the documentations of an event and do logistics work. But besides those, org work can really serve as productive and healthy recreation, helping you psychologically cope with the new normal of online classes. Orgs serve as opportunities for you to make friends with people, bringing me to my final point..

5) Always communicate with your friends, who are family!

So many countless times, orgmates have turned to friends and family. That can be what’s so great about being part of an org!

Good and healthy friends are your personal motivators to do better. We’re all human and we all struggle, and the great thing about it is your friends know the struggle. They empathize with you. They know adjusting to online classes is not always easy, but when you go through things together in a healthy way, I really guarantee that’ll really help you strive more!

Dear reader, if you’ll notice, the last two things I shared with you don’t have to do with academics directly. But the thing I’ve really learned from college is this: development of the entire person is essential. Spiritual, physical, social, and psychological are all very important. You can be the best student ever and yet feel so sad and alone. That’s what good orgs and healthy friends help you with: the social and psychological aspect.

Lastly, whether you’re a high schooler, a college freshman, or a graduating college senior like me, we got this! Keep the light burning and may it burn even brighter!


The author of this article: 

An accomplished young Chinese Filipino writer and media personality, Aaron S. Medina is associated with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Ateneo de Manila University Chinese Studies Program, the Philippine Association for Chinese Studies, and CHiNOY TV. He has a passion for truth, justice, and Pokémon, too! Follow him on Facebook:

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