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Making the Most of your First Semester While Working Remotely

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Graphic of woman typing on computer and photos of UMass Amherst campus

Starting your first semester of college from your bedroom at home may not have been how you always imagined it, but with these tips on making the most while working remotely you will be sure to have a successful and memorable first semester of college! So, let’s get through this together UMass, as we all anxiously await the day we will all be back together (in person) again!

Make Connections with Other Students

One of the biggest tips that I have for first semester students working remotely this fall is to make connections and build relationships with your classmates. I know how intimidating it is to meet new people and start conversations but I promise it will be worth it. Everyone is in the same boat this semester and will be looking for peers and students to connect with!

Try to attend virtual events that UMass holds, reach out to other students in your classes to make virtual study and homework groups or try to contact other UMass students through social media! It always helps to have a few friends in your class to reach out to if you’re sick, miss a class, or need extra help studying or finishing homework. Try your best to find students in your class to work with virtually!

Stay Productive and Organized

One of the best ways to stay productive while working from home is to dedicate one area in your home to schoolwork. For example, it can be really hard for me to stay productive if I’m working in my living room or on my bed, so I always try to do my work at my desk in my room. I also keep all of my school supplies and notebooks right there, along with my computer and charger. Keeping a designated workspace for school will help you get in the zone when you have work to be done and classes to attend.

Along with keeping a designated workspace, also stay organized and use a calendar. It can be difficult to keep track of assignments with all of your classes remote so it is extremely useful to keep track of them in a planner or a calendar. I strongly recommend putting important deadlines into your calendar as soon as you get them.

Attend Zoom/Virtual Office Hours

A great way to feel more comfortable in a class is to attend your professors' office hours. Professors will continue to hold virtual office hours and they will be more than happy to have you join if you have any questions or concerns about the class. Teaching assistants (TAs) who are often undergrad and graduate students will also be available in many classes to meet over Zoom and help with whatever you need!

Just because you won’t be seeing your professors and TAs in person does not mean that they aren’t there and working hard for you to succeed! If you have any trouble with remote work in their classes I strongly encourage you to reach out to a TA or to the professor, they will be happy to help you!

Get Outside

My final tip for making the most of your first semester working remotely is getting outside. You’re going to be spending a lot of time looking at your computer throughout the week so another one of my biggest tips is making sure to get outside! When I went remote last spring, one thing I liked to do as the weather got warmer was watch my pre-recorded lectures outside in my backyard! I thought, I might as well spend the time I had to be staring at a screen outside! I would definitely recommend it. 

So, although this won’t be a typical semester, it will be one to remember. We will get through this together and the entire UMass community will be there to help you every step of the way!

Topic: 

Academics
Life at UMass
Transitioning to College

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“I am an early childhood education major and it is something that I have known I have wanted to do all my life,” Julia says. She tells me about how she has worked at the after school program at the elementary school in her town since the beginning of high school, has babysat since she was 13 and nannied for 3 young girls this past summer. “Working with kids is one of the most rewarding things for me and I absolutely love it and I can’t wait to have a classroom of my own one day,” Julia adds.