How To Stay On Task As An Online Law Student
There is no getting around the fact that online law school comes with a whole new set of challenges. In a typical law school classroom, you are one cold call away from being put on the spot. There is no disappearing from view, and distractions are easily avoidable. If you struggle with focusing, you can write your notes and eliminate any technological distractions. With online classes, there are many ways to slip from your in-person levels of classroom concentration. You will soon find distractions are everywhere when attending classes from home. Read further to see our advice on how to stay on task as an online law student!
How To Stay On Task As An Online Law Student
A new life of online classes leaves you with the need to maintain the momentum and dedication at home that rises to levels you established with in-person instruction. Therefore, to help you prepare for this new challenge, we discuss how to stay on task as an online law student.
Establish a dedicated workspace
You may or may not have already set up an office space in your home before classes went online. However, for many students, their “office space” may have traditionally been the library or a coffee shop. Thus, online classes leave many students attending lectures from their bedrooms, a dining room table, or even sitting on the floor. If it is within your ability and budget, set up a dedicated workspace that you can go to for classes. It will be incredibly useful to have an area that separates your home life from your school life, even within the same house. The physical separation will give your mind the sense that when you are in the workspace, it is time to focus. This will also increase productivity!
If you can’t dedicate an entire room to your workspace, then simply designate a quiet corner of your home. Only study and attend class in that corner and avoid using that space for other activities if you can.
Limit visual distractions
Staying on task as an online law student requires more significant efforts to stay focused. Check out these tips on how to pay attention in an online law school class.
During in-person classes, those who get easily distracted can adjust by putting their phone away and writing notes rather than typing. This elimination of distractions leaves you with nothing but the professor’s lecture to grab your attention. However, as an online law student, you are surrounded by the distractions of home. Some disturbances include your phone, laptop, TV, pets, family members, and more. These factors are usually absent from within the law school, making it easier to pay attention. Now that they are all around you as you try to study, you can falter quickly.
Therefore, try whatever you can to eliminate these distractions from view. If possible, have your desk facing a wall. People with attention concerns benefit from working in a space that leaves them staring at a wall. This eliminates visual distractions and keeps the mind from wandering. This trick can be beneficial for anyone, no matter your attention span. Law school requires an intense amount of focus, and eliminating all risks of wandering eyes is incredibly beneficial. It will help you narrow in on your lectures and notetaking while in class, keeping you from losing the focus you so desperately need!
Eliminate noise distractions
We know they can be expensive, but investing in noise-canceling headphones will make a huge difference throughout your time as an online law student. Unless you live entirely alone or in a rural area, noise is going to be inevitable. With so many other distractions floating around you at home, canceling it out can help eliminate your risk of falling off task. Further, relying on your lectures coming through your laptop speakers can allow for a lot of outside noise to distract from class. If you find that external noises can cause your mind and attention to drift, consider purchasing noise-canceling headphones.
Other great alternatives are investing in a sound machine or simply a white noise app on your phone. Wearing earbuds or earplugs will help to at least cancel out some of the noise. Every little change you can make to keep yourself alert in class will help you in the long run!
Keep your camera on
It can be tempting to turn your camera off in class so that you may do as you please (if your professor gives you this option). However, just as when you are in the middle of a law school classroom, the camera and having eyes on you will keep you accountable. Even though your professor may not be looking at you right at that moment, they could be at any time. Knowing this will keep you from staring at your phone or even leaving class entirely. Most professors require cameras on, but with internet issues, this cannot always be a strict policy.
Therefore, create a firm rule for yourself and always have your camera on during class. Then, go a step further and participate in classes as much as possible. We know it can be intimidating to have your picture take over the screen of other students, but class participation will keep you accountable and engaged more than anything. The more accountable you are, the better you will stay on task!
Outline early and regularly
As demonstrated above, accountability is vital to stay on task as an online law student. We always recommend you begin your outline early in the semester, but even more so with online classes! Beginning your outline early on in the semester and continuing to use your notes to update it will maintain your classroom attention. Knowing you have an outline to manage will keep you on top of your readings, and most importantly, your class notes. As stated before, your concentration is the biggest concern as an online law student. Maintaining an outline will keep you accountable outside of class and encourage unwavering focus in class!
We know this new world is challenging to navigate and that only rings truer for online learning. However, there are steps you can take to create an efficient working environment if you’re doing distance-learning this year.
Lastly, remember that everyone in your class is in the same boat and experiencing the same struggles. Although some students have home lives that may affect their schoolwork more than others, everyone is adjusting to online classes. Use the tools around you and work to amplify your strengths. If you take the right steps, success is undoubtedly on the horizon!
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