This past spring, students were asked to make an abrupt change to the way they participated in school, moving from a predominantly in-person model to an online structure almost overnight. There were many bumps along the way as both students and teachers navigated the new model. As a result, we all developed a little more patience and resilience, and we even improved our tech skills throughout the final term of the school year.
Now, several months later, we’re looking ahead to a fall term that, for many, will include the need to continue learning via online channels. However, this time we aren’t doing things on the fly; we have the luxury of time and a better sense of what is needed to begin the next term strong.
For students beginning their first semester of post-secondary studies, creating a sense of community and implementing a structured schedule will be key to feeling confident and connected. For high school students looking ahead to any year of study, being organized, maintaining communication, and feeling connected will be vital to success.
So, whether you’re just starting high school, entering your grade 12 year, or beginning post-secondary, here are a few ideas to help you prepare for what’s ahead, stay connected, and build strong communication skills.
- Engage with teachers/ faculty—email, video conference, LinkedIn, and Twitter can all work
- Participate in online orientations and webinars—watch for invites or notifications about these
- Build digital communities—group chats, Facebook groups, What’s App, etc.
- Engage in small, local study groups—coordinate meetups
- Order campus/school gear—wear the hoodie and drink your morning tea from the school mug
- Engage in discussion boards
- Familiarize yourself with resource centers and schedule an online appointment—advisers, tutors and counsellors can all be reached online
- Join school clubs and schedule virtual meetings
- Create a study space—think about where you will work and learn best and how to minimize distractions.
- Use a weekly schedule and make a daily to-do list to help stay on task
- Use a whiteboard
- Set goals—write them down
- Create a mood board—what do you want to see in your future
- Ensure that you have the correct tech supplies—laptop, desktop, reliable internet, webcam, etc.
- Prepare a self-introduction—you may need to introduce yourself in your online classrooms. It can be helpful to pre-think about a few things to say.
The new school year will likely look a little different than you imagined. Different isn’t bad; it’s often an opportunity to learn new things about yourself. You had a trial run this past spring. Now it’s time to build on your strengths, plan ahead to try to minimize challenges, and enjoy the experience.