As students in the College of Education adapt to online instruction in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have reached out to them to see how they’re adjusting to this new mode of learning. They’re telling us what works and what doesn’t as far as learning strategies online, and what they’re taking away from the experience.

Evan Livingston is a junior elementary education major and a student in the Call Me MISTER program. We caught up with him to talk online learning and the methods he’s used to excel during the tail end of this unusual spring semester.

What has been your favorite e-learning approach?

To be honest, e-learning was kind of a rough start for me because I like to procrastinate, and I didn’t prioritize what I was doing originally. Now, I’ve kind of gotten into the system and developed a routine for e-learning. I like to wake up around 9 or 10 a.m. and kind of get the big stuff I want to get done first, so I’ll try to get most of my work done in the mornings, have a lunch break, take time to chill and relax, and then finish the rest of the work in the early afternoon. That’s kind of been my approach. It took a while to get used to it, but now we’re here and we’re thriving.

What helps you focus?

For me, I like to listen to music while I’m studying or doing homework. So, shout out to Andria Holt. She developed a playlist for me on Spotify, and I usually listen to that while I’m doing my homework for math or for any of my education courses. It’s been working very well.

How do you avoid distractions?

The first week of e-learning was kind of rough because I get distracted easily. I like to stall and procrastinate. In order to avoid that, I try to keep my phone away from me while I’m working. It’s kind of helped me stay focused so I can relax later throughout the day because I don’t like working on homework or big projects late at night. That’s just not my style. I like to get it done and out of the way. I try to get it done in the morning and have a set plan for everything.

How has e-learning allowed you to stay connected with your Clemson community?

It’s been an interesting and weird transition going from seeing everyone every single day—especially the education majors—because I can’t go 48 hours without seeing one of them to now not being able to see them at all. A lot of my friends are graduating as well.

It’s been a tough situation to be in but in terms of staying connected, I’ve been able to Facetime the friends that I’ve been working with on group projects and stuff like that. It’s been nice to see friends and the people I’m used to seeing every single day because we literally have the same schedule going down the list.

It’s been good to stay connected, but also in terms of, like, leisurely stuff, we’ve been able to create game nights and play games like Code Names and Murder Trivia and stuff like that. It’s been really cool to use Zoom for other reasons outside of education. That’s how I’ve been able to stay connected with them.

What is your advice to eliminate stress? 

My advice to eliminate stress is to realize it’s okay to take your time with these assignments, but I’m not saying procrastinate! Do the assignments in short bits so that you can get stuff done. I like to have a planner. I’m guilty of this, but I’ll write things down in my planner that I’ve already finished so I can just have a check mark. That helps me feel like I’m making progress throughout the day.

I advise taking it slowly. It’s okay to not have it all done in one sitting and to take breaks. Take those walks. Get some exercise. Listen to music. Do whatever you have to do, and do what you love in between those bits of doing work. That’s my advice.

How are you focusing on the positive in light of these unusual circumstances?

Being involved with RUF—a campus ministry here at Clemson University—has helped keep me grounded in my faith. I’ve been able to navigate through these tough times of change and transition, and they’ve helped me stay connected not only with my spiritual life but with everyone that I’m used to seeing on campus.

I’ve learned to appreciate the moment and be grateful of the opportunities and the blessings I’ve had at Clemson and to not squander my senior year coming back to Clemson University. I’ve learned to be appreciative and see the value in the things that really do matter once a lot of things are taken away from you in this e-learning time.

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