3 Ways You Can Tackle The New School Year

Volare | August 2020 Newsletter

Work-life balance meets school-life balance

Work from home tips

With the school year coming around the corner, many of us will likely be taking a mix of online and in-person lectures to accommodate the concerns and guidelines around COVID-19. If you had trouble staying focused during the last quarter/semester, here are three tips you may try for navigating school work at home.

1. Designated Work Space
Much like commuting to campus and showing up to class, having a designated work space that you regularly “commute” to and be present at can signal your body that you are getting ready for academic work. This sort of association can put you in a productive headspace intended for classes and make sure your academic studies don’t intrude into other parts of your life. Work-life balance meets school-life balance.

2. Crank up the Speed
Take advantage of video lectures by replaying them at 1.5 times the speed. Doing so causes your brain to be more focused on taking in the information and make you less susceptible to distractions and background noise.

3. The Pomodoro Method
Do you have any daunting assignments that make you want to take a nap instead? Consider the pomodoro method! This time-management approach is aimed to break down large tasks into smaller deadlines that can be accomplished in 25 minute intervals. After each increment, you can take a 5-10 minute break before starting the next round. The idea behind it is to induce a feeling of urgency, where instead of seeing this entire assignment being due next week, a part of it is due in 25 minutes. For in-person lectures, please refer to your school’s OIS for guidelines they are enforcing in response to COVID-19.

Employment opportunities for F-1 students

1. On-campus employment
On-campus employment is typically a position that provides direct services to other students and doesn’t require the approval of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Hours are limited to 20 during the school year but can go to full-time status during breaks. For current available positions, you may schedule an appointment with your ISS for more details.

2. Off-campus employment based on severe economic hardship
For off-campus employment, students must have completed one academic year in their field of study to be considered for this. If students are having financial difficulties and have exhausted current on-campus positions, they may reach out to their ISS for insights on gaining employment outside of campus.

3. Curricular practical training (CPT)
CPT acts as an alternative work study or internship. It’s an agreement between the school and sponsoring employers that relate to the student’s field of interest. Usually, there isn’t a limit on the duration they can work for at the company, although students should be aware that working full-time for 12 consecutive months can put them at risk for losing their eligibility to apply for the Optional Practical Training.

4. Optional practical training (OPT)
OPT provides training experience that directly relates to a student’s field of study. To be eligible, students have to apply for the work permit from the USCIS and once approved, will be issued a Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Like on-campus employment, hours are limited to 20 during school but can go to full-time status outside of the year.

As we brace for another quarter, semester, or possibly even year of remote learning, we are all in different stages of navigating these times. Above all else, find out what works best for you. Studying from home looks different for everyone and you may be able to find some inspiration from the people around you. What are some tips you personally
found that have helped you be more comfortable with the new normal?


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Published by Volare

Career Coaching for International Students

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