As the Coronavirus (COIVD-19) pandemic continues to impact the world, many routines in our lives have been interrupted. This has caused us to put on our thinking caps to consider other ways of doing everyday activities.

For adult learning students who work, care for children, or have other obligations, it can be challenging to find ways to balance everything, especially during a pandemic. With the fall semester approaching, consider the following study tips for adult learners.

STUDY TIP #1: Get into the fall swing by staying organized.

While many adult learners take college courses over the summer, there can still be a bit of an adjustment getting back into the fall term and the ramp-up of activities and events in our lives. The following two study tips can help:

  • Create a calendar and stick to it. With kids back in school in some fashion and other activities starting in the fall, create a calendar on your smartphone, tablet, computer, or even an old-fashioned, handwritten one. This will help you map out your days, weeks, and months to ensure you will have enough study time for your coursework and know exactly when those important quizzes, exams, and term papers are coming up.
  • Create a folder for each of your fall classes. Whether this is an electronic folder on your computer or a handy paper one, make sure you have a set space for each class you are taking this fall. Keep your syllabus, course documents, term papers, notes, and anything else that is relevant to a particular class here. Doing so will ensure you don't mix up any of your class materials. When it's time to study, you'll know exactly where to look for specific information.

STUDY TIP #2: Prepare for online classes if you haven't taken them before.

Many college students will be taking some of their courses online or in a blended format for the first time this fall as colleges and universities take precautions for the pandemic. For adult learning students, this number could be even larger.

If you've never done online learning before, take some time to familiarize yourself with your online learning platform. Log in and explore how it all works, how to easily navigate to each online course, and how to contact your instructors or fellow students. Keep the contact info for IT handy in case you need technical support. Once you get deeper into your classes, you'll be more comfortable and efficient as an online learner.

Plus, one of the big study tips to consider is to ensure you can quickly access your study materials. In order to find the information you need to read and comprehend for your coursework, preparing yourself for online learning is the best thing you can do to get the studying process started in a pinch.

For an overview of what the online learning landscape looks like if you are brand new to this modality, check out this blog article on things to expect as a first-time online learner.

STUDY TIP #3: Connect with classmates remotely to support each other in your classes.

Whether you are doing online learning, classroom learning, or a blend of both this fall, make connections with your classmates.

Introduce yourself to those in a classroom or through the discussion board of your online course. Tell others about your personal background, work experience, family, and anything else you might feel is worth sharing. Try and learn the same about some of your classmates. You just might find some others with whom you can relate very well, and this could lead to virtual study groups and other beneficial interactions to not only help yourself but others as well.

STUDY TIP #4: Get some fresh air to keep your mind fresh.

Being inside so much can take a toll on our minds, especially our ability to focus. So, try spending some time outside of your residence on a balcony or patio, in the backyard, or even find a nearby park or open area with benches that is safe where you can still be a distance from others. Take your laptop or textbooks with you and enjoy some sunshine and the breeze. As we get further into fall, it should be even nicer to be outside. Getting fresh air can expand your mind and help you study more effectively.

STUDY TIP #5: Use strategies to boost your mental health and cognition.

While many of us have experienced some challenges during this period of quarantine and increased isolation, there are ways to stave off the potential negative impacts of the pandemic. Such strategies can also help with keeping a clear mind when studying for your courses to ensure you have the best chance of making an A in them. Consider the following:

  • Listen to music. When we listen to music, we stimulate a part of the brain that helps with cognition in other areas, including studying.
  • Exercise regularly. Physical activity can improve mood and mental clarity and is just another way to help you focus academically.
  • Practice meditation. Deep breathing has been shown to improve one's discipline. What better way is there to succeed as an adult learning student than being disciplined?
                • Try yoga. Another beneficial activity you can do inside is yoga. Stretching and breathing have so many positive impacts on the body and mind. This practice can also help adult learners be successful when working toward their degrees.