6 Tips to a Better School Term

Summer is almost over. But there is still  time for last minute outings and a few trips to the beach. And for us UPOU students, what better way to spend the last days of our summer than to contemplate about the decisions that we have made about our lives in the comfort of our oven-like home. We have all made choices which we sometimes end up regretting. This is not the type of blog that would tell you how to deal with those regrets but in terms of our studies, we could use those regrets to strive for excellence.

Let me share with you six tips on how you can make your incoming term better.

6 Tips_Tip1

This one is a no brainer. Go through your course guide. Other than skimming for a few pages just to know what the course is about and stopping for a few seconds to check the grading system, there are some things that you can do to understand the course better. Every course guide is packed with information that you can take advantage of with careful planning.

Familiarize yourself with the idea behind the course as well as its goals. Knowing those things will be helpful especially when you’re swimming through a lot of reading materials and modules. You will have an easier time getting over your requirements by knowing what the course expects you to learn without you stressing to memorize everything in great detail. With that, you can finish up your readings quickly, improve your overall understanding and connect the dots of your course as you move along.

6 Tips_Tip2

Sometimes what separates us online students from others are the mountains of reading materials that we have to go through. Since we can’t neglect the learning process and it’s better to rely on the provided modules, we sometimes end up bulldozing through everything like a zombie. It will take quite a while before we finish but what hurts us most is when we don’t remember anything and we have to do it all over again. Here’s a small advise to make it a little bit easier – take notes.

It’s just like eating; you get a big chunk of meat, you cut it into little pieces, you stuff it into your mouth and you thoroughly chew it. It’s hard to absorb a twenty-page reading material about the world’s history in one go. You can’t memorize everything but what you can do is to cut it into parts so you could have an easier time recalling what you’ve read.  You can use a good ol’ notebook or you can embrace technology for the notes that you want to take. Write as you read and read as you write, it’s a good way to make sure that you have a list of the concepts that you have understood so far. It provides a quick access on your thoughts regarding the materials that you’ve read and it also works as a pop up reviewer for exams or if you just want to remember something.  

6 Tips_Tip3

Familiarizing yourself with the course goals and taking notes as you read could get you far, but setting up a calendar could help you out for an extra mile. Just like your notes, you can either choose to use a normal calendar or the one that you have on your phone. But I do recommend having a physical calendar compared to the other. Yes you can always set up a date on your phone, but a calendar on your table does a better job of reminding you on how many days you have left before the deadlines of your assignments. It is pretty cheap and it could do a lot for those people who want to manage their time.

Some course guides include the standard schedules for their students in each and every week for their students. This is where you create your own schedule and weigh your priorities based on what you could and could not do. Set up an agreeable time for the activities that you are comfortable doing and compensate to the areas that are quite challenging.

Plan ahead, be as versatile as possible, don’t start your projects at the last minute and don’t try to beat the buzzer. The calendar would remind you of where you stand so use that to plan ahead and take care of your requirements as soon as possible in order to adjust to some unforeseen events that might happen.

6 Tips_Tip4

One of the main advantages of studying in UPOU is that you could literally study anytime and anywhere. Having that kind of freedom makes us vulnerable to this wonderful thief we call procrastination. At one moment we’re thoroughly reading our materials and another moment we found ourselves scrolling through facebook or binge watching youtube videos. It’s easy to get trapped thinking that we have a lot of time in our hands only to realize that we’re already cramming at one point in time toward an incoming deadline.

So let’s go create ourselves a very special place where we could study. Procrastination is pretty hard to fight so have a bit of freedom for yourself here – pick a place where you could focus and pick yourself a time where you could study without caring about the world around you. Shut the door if there’s any, throw your phone away and limit the things that could distract you away from your work.

You will be surprised on how much progress you have made or the work that you have finished in those focused little study sessions that you do. Just look at your calendar, see the things that needs to be done and just do it. No matter how easy or tedious it is for you, don’t think that giving yourself a more time to bottle up resolve or inspirations would make your tasks easier.

6 Tips_Tip5Online discussions are a great tool to extend classroom conversations and learning by getting students to engage with class material online. Online discussions are often arranged by discussion boards, forums, and threads.  These are flexible and not limited by time or space. During in-class discussions, one can continue online and vice versa.

Students can prepare for class activities by engaging in online discussions that are designed to have students get familiar with new topics. For example, students can discuss their responses to a pre-class reading. Online discussions can simultaneously reach different types of learners. Online discussions can enable introverted thinkers time to process a response and extroverted thinkers time to reflect on their thoughts before posting.

Students can use online discussions to give and receive feedback on their work. Postings are saved and conversations can be reviewed for assessment and reflection purposes. Online discussions can be a space where students answer each other’s frequently asked questions about the course, helping to alleviate the instructor workload by dealing with questions that otherwise might be emailed to her or him.

6 Tips_Tip6

Now for the best part, the part that everybody wants – the rewards. No matter how hard or how menial the task is, it’s the rewards that get us going in the long run. Rewards are something that could encourage and something that could actually make us look forward into doing some work. Just like how others are working for their salary and ultimately their families, we as students are working hard for our grades that would lead up to our graduation.

Just like a normal battery, making an effort to get something done requires you to spend your energy. Let’s be honest here, doing schoolwork even if we like the subjects still exhausts us. So just like a normal battery we need to recharge so do the things that you genuinely enjoy. Go play games, eat some food, watch a movie and read a book, remember that you’re doing this to safekeep your productivity so don’t spoil yourself too much with rewards. Manage your brakes the same way you manage your study sessions. Do work hard but don’t forget to rest, don’t let yourself get burned out.
The fastest way to improve is accepting your faults and using those as a stepping stone so you can reach the better version of yourself. Know your capabilities, understand that there are things that are easy for you to do and there are things that would prove to be quite difficult. There will always be bad days that no matter what you do, you’d always end up failing. Don’t let it stop you from making your future a little bit better. This blog is just  a little step to help you out and the rest depends on you. Thank you so much for reading and many thanks for those who helped me put together this list. Let’s make our incoming semester better than the last one. 

(KBAncajas, BAMS Student & RHBulanhagui, MDC Student)


15 thoughts on “6 Tips to a Better School Term

Add yours

  1. I am inspired of the tips. It is true that I sometimes take things for granted,make excuses for not doing my requirements, spend time on other things than focus on studies and end up cramming and beating deadlines. As a result, I submit half baked and not well done requirements when I could have done better had I focused and organized things and anticipate for unexpexted turn of events. I hope I can do better next semester. No excuses, better outcomes and better grades.

  2. Nice one! If I may suggest, 7th tip would find learning buddies who will be your support system in the online world. Admit it or not, we still have classmates who eventually consume our time by engaging us into small talks and stuff that are far beyond the reason why we are online. Be very picky as like the real world, our platform is also full of trolls,

  3. I barely go to Facebook now but I still go to YouTube and play mobile games. But whenever I open my laptop, the first site that is open is the Myportal site. I somehow made it like my new Facebook because instead of scrolling my newsfeed in FB, I scroll for the discussion forums or check on my classmates blog posts. And there was indeed an improvement for me. Now, I get to submit my assignments and answer quizzes a few days earlier than the deadline. I also get to participate much more in discussion forums unlike my previous terms. Being able to submit things earlier let me have more time to prepare for exams and have more time in playing games too! It’s a win-win for me XD

  4. I agree. It is very important to save energy and do other activities as well. If we study all the time, then the productivity and efficiency will be decreased.

  5. Thanks for these tips. These tips can absolutely help anyone who reads them, especially those who are just starting diatance learning.

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