Thriving academically

Welcome to week 2!

Tip #1: Set up a proper workspace

One of the most valuable things you can do before the school year begins is to get yourself organized. Starting off with a clean slate will allow you to feel less stressed and better prepared to take on the new year.

When setting up your workspace:

  • Choose a place outside of your bedroom or spaces you associate with relaxation

  • Invest in a laptop lap desk

  • Purchase a comfy and supportive office chair

  • Purchase a desk lamp to light up the area and avoid eye strain

  • Purchase any additional supplies on the Campus store, Walmart, or Amazon

Supplies needed for school:

Before school starts, its a good idea to get all of your supplies in one place so that anything you need during the school year is readily available! Here is a sample checklist of supplies that are necessary/helpful for efficient online learning:

  • Computer

  • Webcam

  • Headset/headphones

  • File storage (external hard drive or cloud storage)

  • Calendar or planner

  • Desk

  • Laptop desk

  • Monitor

  • Blue light glasses

  • Desk chair

  • Desk lamp/light

You can find these supplies at Ikea, Walmart, the Campus Store, Amazon, and more!

Tip #2: Minimize the physical strain of being online

Being online has its perks but it also has some downfalls! Sometimes the physical strain of being online can reduce both productivity and focus!

Reduce the physical strain of being online by:

  • Purchasing a monitor to avoid hunching your back and neck

  • Buying blue light glasses to avoid eye strain

  • Downloading Microsoft Office

  • Looking through other note taking methods like OneNote, Docs, and Notion (figure out which ones work best for each class)

Here are some links for monitors:

Here are some links for blue light glasses:

Download/learn more about Office 365 for free with your McMaster email:

Check out this free note taking software:

Tip #3: Stay motivated and ask for help when needed

It can be challenging to stay motivated to work hard throughout the school year, especially when classes are online. Here a some tips that'll help you stay on top of your game:

  • Have all work completed before class

  • Take breaks while studying and break down content over a series of days

  • Find your TA or professor's contact information or office hours on your course outline or on Avenue to Learn and ask for help when needed!

For more tips for staying motivated with online learning, check out the McMaster Student Success Centre

To help you stay on task and track your habits throughout the day, check out the Flora App

Feeling sluggish during a long day of classes and school work? Check out these 14 Study Snacks to help your power through your day.

To help keep yourself feeling energized and sharp, it's important to keep your body moving throughout the day. To take a look at some exercises you can do even at your desk, click the link HERE

Tip #4: Manage back-to-back in-person and online classes

The constant change between a virtual environment and an in-person environment may turn out to be a little hectic! Here are ways to make your daily transitions more efficient:

  • Get to campus as early as possible to find a quiet space to do work

  • Do online classes at the library, study space, cafe, etc. in order to get to the next in-person class in time

Book a study space at a library:

Check out the study spaces on campus:


Do you have any questions about the topics covered this week? Let us know by filling out our google form.