Conquering Your Virtual University – Tips to Help Med Students During COVID

Studying from home? Here are some tips to help you conquer your new virtual university! 

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Being a med student is hard–even during normal times. Throw a global pandemic into the mix, and completing medical school might feel like an unattainable goal. With COVID-19 shuttering many universities and the Association of American Medical Colleges recommending the vast majority of medical schools be completed online, many students are struggling to get the most out of their education and complete their studies.

With healthcare professionals in high demand throughout the country (and around the world), now is not the time to give up on your dreams simply because you are unable to participate in in-person instruction. Instead, it is time to put on your favorite scrub jacket and get serious about conquering your virtual university. Keep reading to discover a few tips to help med students during COVID.

Accept the Current Reality

As someone who has chosen to pursue a career in healthcare, you have likely spent years imagining what college would look like. And chances are, your visions didn’t involve spending countless hours at home alone staring at a computer screen. This might be especially true if you are going back to school online after earning a degree in person or becoming an accelerated second-degree BSN program graduate through on-campus instruction.

Though your dreams of in-person instruction may have been dashed, for now, you need to let go of your prior expectations and embrace the current reality. It is completely normal to feel some disappointment about your studies being moved online, but try to replace your disappointment with gratitude for the fact–thanks to modern technology–it is possible to continue your studies amid a global pandemic. Sometimes, this simple shift in perception is enough to help you power through your most difficult days.

Commit to a Schedule for Online Learning

During “normal” times, classes have scheduled start and finish times. Students are expected to be in certain classes on specified days and at scheduled times. With online learning, though, there tends to be a lot more freedom in terms of scheduling. While you are required to turn assignments in on certain days, there may not be a set time for going over lessons. For many students, this can be problematic.

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If you want to succeed while taking classes online, make time management a top priority or consider hiring a chemistry tutor. Don’t put off studying or working on an assignment just because you are not required to be in a classroom at a certain time. Having exceptional time management skills is one of the most important traits among successful online learners. If this is something you struggle with, take steps to strengthen your skills as soon as possible. While taking classes online offers a great degree of flexibility, sticking to a schedule is important. Falling into haphazard study patterns can decrease your efficiency and make it difficult for you to stay on top of your classes. Come up with a schedule, and stick to it just like you’d stick to a traditional class schedule when attending med school in person.

Pay Close Attention to Instructions

Online education is different from classroom instruction for students and teachers alike. If you started med school in person and have had to switch to virtual instruction, be prepared for your teachers to have different requirements than they had in the classroom. This is especially important for classes that traditionally take place in person and without online components, such as anatomy courses. Pay close attention to any instructions you are given. If you have questions or do not understand the requirements, ask. Remember, your instructors are learning as they go, too. Some may have never taught online classes before and could be struggling to translate in-person lessons to ones that work in an online setting. Be patient, ask questions when needed and follow instructions carefully.

Connect with Your Peers

For many students, one of the most challenging aspects of online learning is not being able to engage with other students face-to-face. Even in an online classroom, though, it is still possible–and advisable–to connect with your peers. Take advantage of online discussion forums or video conferencing to engage with your fellow students. In doing so, you will be able to learn from each other and overcome the feelings of isolation that may arise from completing classes online rather than in person. Even if you just chat about your personal lives or the best scrubs sneakers, forming connections is important.

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If you are struggling with an assignment, connecting with your classmates is vital. While your teacher should be available to provide clarification, working with your fellow students is one of the best ways of deepening your understanding of the subject and completing your work. Consider forming or participating in an online study group. While it isn’t quite the same as meeting up with your peers at the library, an online study group helps create the sense of community online education often lacks. Whether your school’s online platform provides space to connect with your fellow students or you set up a study group using social media, make connecting with your peers a priority. Keep in mind: You can connect with other faculty members online, too. If you have a problem, reaching out to the appropriate faculty member via email or another online method is the best way to get help while enrolled in a virtual university.


Going to med school online is a unique and challenging experience for many students. One of the great things about it, though, is it does provide an opportunity to experience what the future of medicine is likely to look like. With telemedicine services on the rise, using the Internet will likely be an important part of patient care throughout your career. While online med school won’t tell you all you need to know about the future of telehealth, it will help you gain experience in remote healthcare.

Whether you are just starting med school or you are nearing the end of your education, it is possible to meet your goals–even in a world plagued by COVID-19. With patience, perseverance and dedication, you can complete your education and conquer your virtual university.