Transitioning Back to Virtual Classes

This semester has been unlike any other. You’re probably sick of hearing that, but the University of Rochester has adapted to the situations best it can. A sense of normalcy has been returned through a hybrid of in-person and online classes for most of the semester. Some students have elected to complete the semester fully online, but many others were eager to return to campus in the fall. After Thanksgiving break, all classes were shifted online, and most students returned home for the holidays.


I will admit to being skeptical about in-person classes continuing through November. Back in August, news came in from campuses across the country that had to be shut down and moved online within a week of students moving in. I was convinced there would be an outbreak and students would be sent home earlier than intended. This is one case where I’m glad to be proven wrong. Through the combined efforts of the students, faculty, and staff, we have successfully completed the in-person portion of the semester! Go Jackets 🙂


Now comes the hard part: transitioning back to online learning. Most students have had at least one class fully online this semester, such as classes with large lecture halls that cannot safely have everyone present in the room. We also got a taste of online classes back in April, but the methods of online learning have been refined since then. Now all U of R classes are virtual, just in time for finals season! Here are some helpful tips that I’ve found in succeeding in online courses.

Keep a routine.

When you’re home all day, it can be easy to feel unmotivated. Even though the space is different, keep the same habits that you use when you have to go to school. Try to wake up at the same time each day, eat breakfast if you normally eat breakfast, and change out of your sleep clothes. Here’s an example of what I wear on the 5 second commute to my desk. Treat your day as if you are going to school, so your brain is in the school mindset. This also means going to bed at the same time each day!


Find your best productivity hours.

I like to do most of my serious studying in the morning, because that is when my brain works the best. On the other hand, I know I can’t focus on anything in the afternoon, so I try to plan my day around that. If you find that 7pm is the best time for you to get things done, then plan your hardest tasks for that time.

You are not a machine.

Make sure to give yourself breaks! We are still in a pandemic, so it is perfectly fine to feel stressed and unmotivated sometimes. Trying to push yourself to do work even if you are too tired or stressed won’t accomplish anything. Rest and recharge, then come back to it later.


There you have it! I hope these tips are helpful in adjusting back to online learning. There’s only a couple of weeks left of the semester, and the finish line is in sight!

About the author

Nicole Sammartino

Hi! My name is Nicole, and I'm a math major in the class of 2020. Currently, I'm studying conservation biology for my Take Five program. I'm originally from Fairfax, Virginia and I love the cold Rochester weather! On campus, I'm a member of the Music Interest Floor and the University of Rochester Pep Band. When I'm not in class, you can usually find me trying out new tofu recipes or playing the trumpet.

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