Even as the COVID-19 pandemic changes many aspects of life, you know that thoughtful policy and well-crafted laws can help get our nation and our world back to some semblance of normalcy. That’s why it is important to make the most of your online learning, so you can develop practical skills and real-world knowledge that can meet upcoming challenges. But first you need to meet the personal challenge of learning during a crisis.
The more things change, the more the world needs leaders
With the pandemic altering so much of daily life, your online learning experience probably looks different than you envisioned. If you’ve thought about going back to school, you know that balancing work, family life, and learning will be a challenge, but it is one you are prepared to tackle. The goal of enhancing your skills and knowledge through a nationally ranked program in public law was well worth the balancing act. Then everything changed.
The world is facing a crisis, and it would be easy to put your learning on the back burner so you can focus on more immediate concerns, but you know that law and policy is interesting and vital work, especially now. Despite the current challenges, you want to advance your career and be an expert with legal expertise who shapes and guides public policy.
We at McGeorge are committed to helping you succeed. You will have the support and guidance of a distinguished faculty of scholars and practitioners who are experts in law, the legislative process and policy making. Your personal and professional goals are still in reach, as long as you’re committed to achieving them.
How to make the most of online learning
Deciding to stick to your goals is a vital first step. Next, you need some practical advice on how to make the most of your online learning experience. The following tips will help you stay focused and avoid overwhelm during this difficult time.
1. Plan Ahead. Having a plan makes you more likely to stick to your goals. Although some events are out of your control, you can create a schedule with blocks of time for study. Look ahead at your syllabus so you know when tests and assignments are due. Add these to your schedule.If you’re a current student, make sure you’re taking advantage of features in the Canvas Learning Management System. Click the Syllabus page in the left-hand navigation of your course; you’ll see a consolidated list of assignment deadlines. You can also click the View Calendar link in the upper right-hand part of the course home page to see deadlines in a calendar format. You can add these dates to your personal calendar and make certain you’re staying on top of assignment due dates.
2. Give yourself a buffer. You won’t always be able to stick to your schedule. Technical issues and the challenges of living and working in an enclosed space with pets, children, and partners at home can disrupt carefully laid plans. In addition, the pressures of life during a pandemic might cause you to feel more tired than usual or less able to focus.
Leave time in your schedule for the unexpected. Try to work on projects and assignments before they are due. That way, if you have to miss or move a study session, you still have time to get the work done.
3. Get your technology in order. You have enough stressors right now without adding technology issues to the mix. Take some time to explore the learning management system so you know where everything is when you need it. Buy or borrow any equipment that would make your online learning experience more pleasant. If something needs fixing, make the investment to get it repaired. The upfront expenditure will save you stress and frustration in the long run. If you’re a current student you’ve probably set up a dedicated learning space in the house, but perhaps the stresses of being quarantined with other household members has made your study area less private than you formerly planned. Noise-cancelling headphones may help you maintain focus. A second monitor can help you get more done during the time you allocate for study.
4. Connect with students and faculty.You are not alone in this online learning journey. Faculty members and fellow students can help you understand the material, stay focused, and overcome any challenges you come across. Reach out to them early and often so you feel comfortable asking for help and support when you need it.
Connecting with a network of faculty, experts, and fellow students is one of the major benefits of earning your degree from McGeorge School of Law. Those relationships will help you meet your learning goals now, and achieve law and policy initiatives in the future.
5. Keep your goals in mind. When life is stressful, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day challenges and forget why you started this online learning journey. Anytime you get discouraged, think about what this degree will help you achieve. While your immediate goal is to earn a Master’s degree, your ultimate goal is probably something more personal and more motivating. You might want to advance your career by building skills that help you stand out from others in your industry. Or you might want to address a particular policy issue that could improve the lives of others. Write down your big-picture goal and put it where you can easily see it. Whenever you feel discouraged or overwhelmed, look at your goal for motivation.
Prepare for a career that makes a difference
Shaping public policy and laws is more important than ever. Whether your goal is to draft legislation or lobby for a vital cause, our program prepares you to meet your goals.
We teach you to think like a lawyer. We teach you how legislation is constructed, and how to be attentive to loopholes and interpretation issues. We equip you to lobby more effectively for new policy, and how to use case law to strengthen your arguments.
You emerge from our program able to advocate as a policy expert who can also bring legal expertise to the table. Keep your education on track to prepare for a career that makes a difference in the world.
For support, reach out to your admissions advisor.