Preparing for graduate school has a few similarities to having a child. People tell you to forget about sleep, that you’ll have less time for yourself, and random outbursts of crying are normal; in some of the harder programs there may be crying. One thing can be said for both, you really won’t be prepared until you start classes.
In online education you have to be a self-starter. You need to set reminders to log into the classroom every other day (preferred), and be prepared for copious amounts of reading material. As a graduate student, I was most definitely not prepared for the sheer volume of words that have invaded my brain in just a week; it’s mind boggling. Whether you’re taking law classes, studying the humanities, or memorizing lines of code, you need to be able to read well and often.
A good facilitator to reading is a highlighter. Physically highlighting a piece of paper is great, and it’s tangible so you can touch it as you study. If your classes are anything like mine, you’ll feel guilty about printing out each assignment you need to read. I’ve opted for a virtual highlighter instead. There are apps you can download for your smart devices, or you can download browser specific highlighters. Since I use FireFox for school I downloaded TextMarker! 0.3.4. After the add-on is downloaded all you have to do is highlight the text with your cursor, right click and select “Highlight Text!” Don’t forget to bookmark your page for easy reference! This is a great way to keep track of your reading for class without having to shuffle through the paper every time. The highlighter helps with your inspectional reading, and gives you reference points when looking back to the page for specific responses.
By J. Mason
Online Learning Tips Editor