{shortcode-6ac194269227aee1526bbc1f37ba2e1ec30abeef}Though you may still be on #holidaymode, you must face the reality that another semester of online learning has commenced. Our laptop screens have replaced the vibrant college life we’ve grown to love — we miss running into acquaintances, enjoying meals with large groups of people, and being a part of a bustling environment. To combat the nostalgia, let’s try to make this semester better than the last and complete a few virtual learning goals. Count how many items you can check off this learning enhancement bucket list!

✓ Set up a virtual study session.

Gone are the days you can pull up to Lamont Library with a study buddy, but now is your chance to stimulate a motivating working environment from wherever you are and break your horrendous, yet wonderful, Netflix binge-watching habit. Reach out to a group of friends, plan a time to get together (please don’t send a When2Meet), and send out a Zoom link. Whether you’re working (read: crying) on the same physics pset or writing completely different essays, don’t underestimate the simple presence of a friend.

✓ Attend office hours.

Pre-Covid-19, it was challenging to go to office hours because of meetings, extracurricular activities, and another million conflicts (“I missed the shuttle!”). However, now you have the opportunity to attend office hours from the comfort of your futon. If that isn’t enough to convince you, remember that the teaching team misses seeing students on a regular basis, so they would love to have a conversation with you even more than usual. Your professor’s advice, perspective, and expertise are only a few clicks away. In case you’re still hesitating, keep in mind that office hours might deter you from spending your whole day on TikTok.

✓ Hop into a random class.

Take advantage of the combination of our world-class education and high-tech era to learn from a new course, whether it’s within your concentration or on the other end of the academic spectrum. Immerse yourself in a specific era of American history, gain more knowledge about evolutionary biology, or learn about Shakespeare — now could be the time to tack on that random pass/fail class that you’ve been looking at since freshman fall! Because of the several different time zones and Zoom fatigue, student attendance rates are probably taking Ludacris’ song “How Low Can You Go” quite literally, so professors would be thrilled to see more people show up (though maybe email first to avoid any accidental Zoom-bombing). Zoom is your oyster!

✓ Go to virtual study breaks.

Whether the study break is planned by your entryway or organization, take some time away from your studies and stop by the event for a few minutes. We know that virtual study breaks aren’t as lively and interactive as in person, but it’s worth seeing different faces besides your professors’ and classmates’ every once in a while. This is a great opportunity for you to catch up with other students in your entryway, play a few games, and perhaps passionately vent about how three midterms in one week should be forbidden.

✓ Change your virtual background to a scenic photo during class.

Sure, airline ticket prices have been pretty low, but changing your virtual background to Machu Picchu, Cancun, or the Grand Canyon only costs you a few seconds. These are all great choices to spice up your backdrop since your lamp can surprisingly get dull, and they are lovely conversation starters during those awkward breakout room moments we are all too aware of. Feeling bold? Use a photo of your professor as your background. If they’re not amused, just zoom out of there real quick and blame it on the “unstable Internet connection.”

Though an online education certainly comes with challenges, there are still ways to stay engaged with faculty and classmates. So grab a few snacks and put on a pair of sweatpants, and you might just learn something new! Challenge your friends to see who can check off all the items on this bucket list first.