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How to Navigate the Virtual World:

As we move into an even more virtual world, it can be challenging to keep up with new technology and adapt to significant alterations in our usual routine. COVID-19 has left us speechless with all the adjustments we have made to continue our academic success this semester. Even though you may seem like you have all the tools and resources to navigate this new norm, this article will give you some tips and tricks to help you stay on schedule with all of your classes and to stay updated on internship and full-time job opportunities. Since everything is mostly online now, it can be even harder to remember deadlines, assignments and everyday tasks that need to be completed. The silver lining in all of this is that this situation is new for everybody, so you are not alone in trying to navigate this new standard in your life.

School plays an important role in our lives, and it also takes up most of our time. So, it is critical to make sure that you are on top of all of your assignments in each class, even more so now because most of us spend our days on Zoom. Emails can get lost and you do not have classroom or peer associations with your classes like in the past. However uneasy you may feel, there are ways to make sure your grades do not slip.

Virginia Tech has listed three things that can help students be successful: managing your time, using your awesome communication skills, and staying focused!

The first being to manage your time is the most important to actively practice. Some professors will have everything due for each module/unit at the end, so it can encourage procrastination if there are not daily reminders for assignments. In order to avoid procrastination, Virginia Tech suggests three things for students to do. Start by looking over the class syllabus in order to look at the schedule for the fall semester, that way you can start planning ahead by having future important due dates in the back of your mind. When you write something down you are more likely to accomplish it promptly!

This leads into the second tip of making a daily “To Do” list. This way, if you don’t like looking at the big picture, you can focus each day at a time. This can be particularly helpful when you are inundated with assignments. Start with what you have to do today, and go from there. The last tip to accomplish great time management is to make a daily routine for yourself. Set apart time for homework, studying, and free time. Just because our routines may look a little different, does not mean we should not have them established. In our virtual world, using good communication skills can help you throughout the semester in your online classes. Utilize time during your Zoom classes where the professor lets you ask questions, go to your professors online office hours, and email them if you have questions!

Lastly, it is important to stay focused! Create a study environment that allows you to be the most successful. Designate a place at home where it is quiet and peaceful with little to no distractions. Virginia Tech suggests to turn off your cell phone and to set up a comfortable place to study with good lighting. Phones are very distracting and it can be tempting to constantly check your messages, social media, or emails every few minutes. You want to be comfortable wherever you study, so make sure you have a chair that is comfortable enough to sit in for a few hours. This is the time to really personalize your study space! Your room is where you can focus on yourself, your studies, and feel the most productive.

Along with classes being online, recruitment, whether it be for graduate school or jobs, has made the transition to virtual formats very recently. It may seem even more challenging to make meaningful connections with recruiters. Both require preparation, so here are some tips to help you navigate the online world of recruitment.

LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected so now is the perfect time to establish your LinkedIn profile to start making those meaningful connections! Now that job fairs are mainly online, many recruiters will tell you to add them on LinkedIn. Take the time to create a LinkedIn profile with your resume, work experience, and skills. It is very simple and easy to do, and then you will have a great profile for recruiters to see!

Take advantage of online graduate open houses! Most programs are having virtual sessions, so take advantage of not having to travel to different graduate schools across the country. If graduate school is something you are thinking about, open houses are a great way to learn about different programs and find out which program will be best for you. With the online format, hopefully this alleviates any stress or nerves you may experience.

Whether you are applying for graduate school, full-time jobs, or internships, reference letters from your professors are an important part of the application process. Remember, even though we are online, you should still ask for a reference letter from your professors in-person. It is not recommended to ask them via email. Send an email asking to talk with them over Zoom. Then you can ask them if they would be able to speak positively about you in a reference letter. With more aspects of life being virtual, it is easy to slip into “informal mode,” but you want to make sure you still maintain a level of professionalism when speaking to your professors.

As mentioned before, we already are seemingly living in an all virtual world, even more so now because of COVID-19. It can be stressful trying to navigate it between your classes, job fairs, applications for internships, and other important life matters. Hopefully this article provides you with some guidance in navigating the virtual world. Never forget, just because we are living virtually does not mean our relationships should suffer. Social distancing does not mean social isolation, so prioritize calling your family, going on a walk with your friends while wearing a mask, and schedule Zoom dinners where you can catch up with others and destress. We all know technology is always advancing so let’s look at this as a positive opportunity to challenge ourselves and solidify professional online reputations.

By: Ashley Mattson

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