Ordinary Hope in Extraordinary Times: Tips for First-time Online College Students


Online Learning is hard! We get it. Here are some tips curated by Kimberly Travieso, a 2nd year college student at Cal State Los Angeles.

Kimberly Travieso is a current sophomore at Cal State University Los Angeles! Pictured above in the first row wearing green earrings, she is an active participant of KC programs and is currently a KC intern. In the midst of in person classes turning virtual, Kimberly writes for students who are experiencing virtual learning in college for the first time.

Meet up with Kimberly and get to know Sabrina, Kid City's social work intern! Kimberly and Sabrina will introduce how to create a schedule that balances school, work, work-outs, romance, and self-care! Zoom meet-up Thursday February 3, 5pm. Register here (http://bit.ly/hopeforcollege)
Hey! I'm Kimberly Travieso and I’m a current sophomore at CalState LA and attended Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. I was introduced to Kid City through the Junior College Prep class and stayed due to the welcoming atmosphere. I’ve been able to intern, volunteer, and plan events which allowed me to grow as an individual. Because we’ve had to stay inside for the last two years, I’ve been able to discover my love for earrings like rubber ducks and pigs that squeak. Maybe now with this being your first time doing online learning in college you can explore your identity and what makes you happy too!

If you're getting flashbacks to March 2020, when they told us it would be a “two-week break”, same. Though, this is likely your first semester of online college, or weeks, depending on how your school goes about it.

As a college sophomore, I’ve had two semesters of online school, and through that experience, I have been able to gather some tips and tricks to help me through it. I took my classes at home, where it can be very noisy - people talking, cars honking outside, dogs barking, all causing a huge distraction. I wasn’t sure how to handle this at first, but I slowly figured it out. Here are some tips that have helped me, and I want to pass them down to you:
  1. Use Do Not Disturb: Put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and have it scheduled during your classes and study times. That way, you’re not tempted to go on your phone when you hear notifications. I think this goes for many of us, or maybe just me, but when I hear my phone go off in the middle of class and I have my camera off, I tend to just be on it for the rest of the class. Trust me, that never ended well, especially in my math classes. (P.S. If you worry that your parents might call, you can add them to the ‘allowed notifications.’)

  2. Put on your headphones: Things that helped me stay concentrated during class were putting on my headphones. They muffle the surrounding noises, and the prominent voice you hear is the Professors.

  3. Close your tabs: Be sure to close all the tabs you don’t need for the class and open up a google doc, or have a notebook - whichever you prefer.

  4. Turn your Camera On: If you can, I highly recommend having your camera on, even if it isn’t something you necessarily want. I would get easily distracted in some of my less exciting classes, but if you have your camera on, it makes you focus on the class and take in what was being said. (A plus to this, if you ask questions and stay active during class, they’re more likely to notice you since many people don’t participate. If you need a letter of recommendation, later on, they’re likely to remember who you are!)

  5. Self care: One of the most significant pieces of advice I can give you, especially during online learning, is to take care of yourself. I think that’s something many of us forget about as-is, and with school transitioning back online, it might be harder to set that boundary.

  6. Have Fun!: When you need a break from all the work, text your friends, take a step outside, and just do things that help you relax. I’ve been able to play some online games with them by using sites like backyard.co and revisiting Cool Math Games where we compete on who can get the best ratings on Papa’s Pizzeria (or any of the other versions they have haha). Then when I was able, I went out to do some fun activities with my friends, some of those being KC events!

  7. Stay connected: With the people you met during your in-person semester or if you were unable to, try making some new friends online - go to club meetings and be active in their club chats! From my experience, they may not be active.