If you’re experiencing new challenges or feeling overwhelmed in the online learning environment — you’re not alone!
We asked the Peer Mentors — our upper-year campus experts — for their top tips for addressing some of the most common challenges students are finding with the online learning environment.
Having trouble making friends?
Bethany (2nd year, Biochemistry) says: “The energy you put into the UBCO community is the energy you will get back. In classes, one of the easiest ways you can make a connection is to turn on your camera during lectures if you can — chat with your classmates before the lectures start compliment someone’s shirt, or ask a fun question.
“Beyond classes, try going to a social event with your Peer Mentors to meet people. You can also look for friends through clubs — many of them are still active! Try out a club meeting or two and see if you have a fit. Unless you are extremely extroverted, it can be scary to put yourself out there, but it definitely gets easier with every new person you meet.”
Feel like your phone is constantly buzzing with emails from profs, UBC, and classmates?
Akeem (4th year, English) says: “Ensure that you dedicate time to yourself. A simple tip is to change the notification settings on Canvas so you can limit the amount of emails and phone notifications you get throughout the day. This can help you separate home and school life, and keep you more organized. By setting aside dedicated time to check your canvas notifications and emails, and to read them with your full attention, it will help you feel less overwhelmed, and help you create daily to-do lists.”
“By setting aside dedicated time to check your canvas notifications and emails, and to read them with your full attention, it will help you feel less overwhelmed, and help you create daily to-do lists.”
Having trouble learning all the apps and technological programs?
Aditya (4th year, Zoology) says: “You are not alone. We all had to learn pretty quickly how to do everything with our gadgets. I would recommend not spending the whole semester trying to slowly figure things out — act now to figure it all out. UBCO has a new program to help students with technology and platforms called Peer Technology Assistants. You can connect with a Peer Technology Assistant during weekly drop-in sessions or book an appointment for one-on-one support.”
Feeling like there’s too much course work and not enough time to do it all?
Lore (4th year, Creative Writing) says: “You may find yourself spending hours focusing on an assignment or discussion that is only worth 1% of your course grade. While those 1% assignments can add up fast, you should make sure that you are focusing your energy on larger assignments. It’s really about focusing proportionate amounts of time on assignments.
“Read your course syllabi! Pay close attention to the weight and due date of your assignments and how those assignments match the course learning outcomes — then prioritize what to spend the most time on and when. Peer Mentors recommend visiting the Student Learning Hub to access a variety of supports from peers and professionals.
Feeling like you could use a little extra help with course work?
Prapti (4th year, Philosophy/Poli-Sci/Economics) says: “One of the best ways to understand, and not just memorize content, is to teach it to someone else or talk it through. Create a study group with the new people you’ve met in your classes, meet with an online tutor, or go to the Learning Hub’s peer-guided study sessions for the notoriously hard courses.
“One of the best ways to understand, and not just memorize content, is to teach it to someone else or talk it through.”
“Another great way to feel connected to the University while also getting a handle on course topics is by attending your professor’s drop-in hours. This will help you develop a relationship within your prof and clarify content, and it may even lead to some great experiences in research or work study placements in the future.”
If you’re struggling, feeling lost, or just plain overwhelmed, remember that UBC has loads of supports to help you tackle anything standing in the way between you and your goals as a student.
First year students, don’t forget reach out to your Peer Mentor if you need help with anything from you have about UBC. There’s no such thing as a silly question!
And as a student, you can always access UBC’s Student Assistance Program — your free wellness resource available 24/7 to help with everything from academic stress to personal counselling, to financial guidance and more, based on your individual needs.