How can I make my USF apartment more conducive for elearning?

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College Town @ USF
Dedicate a work space to elearning at Campus Palms.

When you moved into one of the apartments near USF, you likely selected it due to its proximity to your classes. Well, now your University of South Florida classes are scheduled to take place inside your apartment. According to the State University System of Florida, "remote instruction will continue through the end of the Spring semester at each state university." 

A lot of people prefer to attend their lectures IRL, so I appreciate your concern in making your apartment more conducive for elearning. Fortunately for you, I have a lot of experience with remote instruction - I graduated in August with my Masters degree, which was done entirely online. These are my recommendations for making your apartment the best classroom it can be:

  • Keep a schedule. Just like you had Calculus first thing in the morning for the first half of the semester, make a schedule for yourself of when you'll work on each of your classes; note on your calendar or in a planner when you'll spend time watching any pre-recorded lectures, studying the material and doing assignments. Maintaining this schedule will help put you in the right headspace for learning, and it will keep you on top of the assignments you'll have coming in. Try to plan your coursework around when you know you're the most focused, whether that's after your morning coffee or your evening run.
  • Get dressed. It may seem like staying in one of the student apartments near USF means staying in your pajamas, but how many times have you accomplished anything while wearing your pjs? Scarfing down an entire tube of crescent rolls doesn't count. Get yourself in the right mindset by putting on "real" clothes - athleisure still counts - as well as showering, brushing your hair, etc. This piece from Teen Vogue goes into the importance of getting dressed; as one of their editors said, "getting dressed helps me feel grounded."
  • Have a dedicated work space. If you didn't have a specific space to work on your schoolwork before, now is the time to make one - after all, you have the rest of the semester to get through online. It doesn't have to be a traditional desk situation, though that certainly works. Find a spot in your apartment where you feel comfortable and aren't distracted. Spots like your kitchen table or island are often strong contenders, though I recommend steering clear of your bed or your couch; they're spaces that will likely tempt you into "working" on a new Netflix series, as opposed to your coursework.
  • Create a virtual study group. Your remote instruction may fall under "social distancing," but it can still be social. If you normally study with friends in one of the libraries on campus or one of the best apartments near USF, you should still study with them; look into setting up a Zoom conference or Google Hangout for you all to meet and discuss your assignments. Since you won't be seeing your classmates in the classroom, this is the next best thing. Plus, virtually meeting with people is a great way to avoid feeling isolated when you're not leaving your apartment.

USF apartments weren't designed to be classrooms, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of the situation. I am confident that with these tips, you can make your home work for your homework. Good luck, and go Bulls! For more great articles on life at USF, check out the ApartmentsForBulls USF Student Guide.

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