Guest Post: Staying Productive While Learning Virtually

We are pleased to share a guest post from Arnold S. Nelson Scholarship Recipient and JBBBSLA Lead Student Ambassador Danica Buckner.

My name is Danica Buckner and I am a 3rd-year biology major at the California State University of Fullerton. I have been part of the JBBBSLA community since I was seven years old. I attended Sports and Arts Buddies on Sundays and Camp Bob Waldorf and Witherbee until I was 17. Currently, I serve as a Lead Student Ambassador for the JBBBSLA’s Student Ambassador Program. The Student Ambassador Program allows current JBBBSLA Scholarship recipients to connect and provide a supportive network that fosters continued learning and builds a strong sense of community among Scholars.

As a Lead Student Ambassador, I help to facilitate Scholar Community events, workshops, and hangouts and serve as a representative for JBBBSLA. I chose to be a Lead Student Ambassador because this program provided a great opportunity for me to share my college experiences with my fellow JBBBSLA scholars. I was the first of my siblings to attend a four-year university and thus I was forced to navigate many difficulties on my own. I would hate for anyone to have to deal with this stress so I wanted to be able to share tips and possible solutions to any challenges that may arise as a new and incoming college student. The Student Ambassador Program allows me to connect with scholars to share my past struggles and help prevent them from making the same mistakes I made.

With the pandemic, the Student Ambassador Program is entirely virtual. Thanks to Zoom, we have all our Scholar Community events and workshops virtually which allows Scholars from different colleges, some even residing in different states, to connect with one another. During our first Scholar Community Hangout, my fellow Lead Ambassadors and I designed a Halloween-themed event primarily focused on getting to know our fellow Scholars and sharing tips on how to stay productive and engaged while attending virtual classes.

The online platform of the program provides greater flexibility and ease of carrying out events and hangouts because Scholars can attend from the safety and comfort of their homes. Previously, hangouts were in person and thus were limited to Scholars attending the same colleges; Lead Ambassadors would set up the details of the meet-ups and have lunch or dinner with the Scholars on their campus. Moreover, the introduction of two virtual hangouts at the end of last year proved to be very successful for allowing more Scholars across different colleges to connect. The success of these pilot hangouts, along with the development of the widespread COVID pandemic, led to the migration of the program to a virtual platform.

Partaking in virtual learning as a college student has been an adjustment for me. It can be difficult to find a routine that suits your schedule and workload, but it is possible especially with the help of the tips that our Scholars discussed. Setting a routine with distinct times for completing assignments, studying, eating, and working out can help to provide a greater sense of structure within our day-to-day schedules. By setting alarms and reminders on when to take breaks, sleep, or complete a task, you can better manage your workload and minimize forgetfulness.

Keeping a clean workspace that is organized and appealing to work in will provide a greater sense of comfort and gratification while working from home. Depending on our personal preferences, we can utilize colorful pens, markers, highlighters, or creative stationery to making note-taking and studying more enjoyable and appealing. Nevertheless, it is important to always give your assignments and tasks your 100% effort and to take the necessary time to complete each task fully.

When I am studying I enjoy listening to lo-fi beats or study beats on YouTube to keep me engaged and alert, lifted radio on Spotify, and Chill Study Beats 6 on YouTube are a couple of my frequent choices. I love to use various colors of the G-2 pilot pens; I have 20 different colors and my favorites are turquoise and purple. These pens allow me to add some life and fun to my notes so that when I review later the different colors remind me of the various important terms and topics. I also have a small dry erase board that I write a daily quote on along with the tasks that I have set out to finish for the day. Sometimes my siblings will add a fun doodle or encouraging notes which always make me smile – one of the benefits of being an at-home student!

To relax and unwind I try to work out at least 5 days a week, and I do yoga on Sundays. When I am physically strong and healthy it helps me to feel mentally strong and able to tackle any task that I may face. I also frequently listen to music, read a book, or go on short hikes or walks with my dog.

Furthermore, it is essential to maintain our physical and mental health by taking regular breaks between work sessions, eating healthily, staying in touch with friends and family, and turning off phones for some much-needed me time away from electronics. For any additional help or support, Scholars are encouraged to reach out to the JBBBSLA Lead Ambassadors or staff members who are here to help in any way possible.

I hope you can utilize these tips and suggestions to refine your approach to virtual learning and create a more productive schedule for yourself and good luck with the rest of your semester.

For questions or comments, please email Learn more about the Student Ambassador Program by visiting our website.

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