Career Colleges General Interest Online learning

10 of the worst things to include in New Year resolutions

Congratulations for completing (or nearly completing) another semester!

To help you usher in a new year of academics, I present to you this tongue-in-cheek post. In it, I’d like to share with you the worst New Year’s resolutions that I can think of for a distance learner. 

So, if you want to know what bad advice for distance learners looks like, this post is for you!   

Are you ready for an unproductive and miserable 2022? Let’s jump in the mire!  

1. Beat yourself up for making mistakes

Here’s some bad advice: Berate yourself and mentally bash yourself for making any mistakes. For instance, did you answer a question on a test only to realize that you answered incorrectly hours later? Don’t let that fly. Make yourself feel horrible for being a flawed human being.

2. Let your ego reign supreme

If your professor disagrees with one of your opinions, be sure to take it as a personal affront to your character. Argue with that professor until they kick you out of the class. Then be sure to email that professor, letting him or her know how stupid they were for not agreeing with you.

3. Never ask for help or advice

You’re not doing your ego any favors by asking for help or advice from professors, students, or counselors. Remember, every person is an island, so do everything on your own. Asking for help under any circumstance makes you look weak.

4. Embrace all nighters

Why work ahead when you can stay up all night a few times a month? Cramming makes for the best learning! Don’t be like those nerds who prepare well in advance for a paper, project, or test. Just knock it out at the last minute, so you can spend as much time procrastinating as possible. Your grades will suffer, but that’s a small price to pay for not being a nerd.

5. Don’t get enough sleep

Sure, sleep helps improve your brain, and experts recommend getting at least seven hours each night. But if you’re sleeping, you aren’t studying or doing homework. Try to sleep as little as possible.

6. Put your identity in your grades

If you’re an overachiever who wants bad advice specifically aimed at you, then be sure to put your identity in your grades. Getting the right grades means more than your character, relationships, spirituality, or interests—grades are the chief defining factor of who you are as a person. Remember, “B” is for “Bad.” As in, you’re a bad human being if you ever get a B or below. 

7. Avoid creating lists

Do you have a lot of schoolwork to do? Keep track of it all in your head. Only nerds write lists of tasks they need in order to perform well in a class. You may forget to do several necessary tasks, but at least you won’t be a nerd with a list.

8. Shoot for doing the bare minimum

Do not “shoot for the stars.” Just do what you need to do to pass your classes. Otherwise, you’ll have to put in more work, which leaves less time to binge-watch shows. Ugh. 

9. Skip classes

Sure, you’re paying for each class, but they are so boring! Play some virtual hooky by avoiding every class you can. And if you end up failing because of this, blame your professor or an unfair school system.

10. Behave like a victim

If you find you’re not getting straight A’s because you followed the aforementioned advice, know that it’s not your fault. Yeah, you procrastinated, refused to ask for help, and skipped classes, but you are a victim first and foremost. So, your bad grades must be someone else’s fault. You just need to find those people and make sure they know you failed because of them—not because of anything you did.

Wrapping up

Obviously, this is terrible advice. In all seriousness, please don’t do any of these things. But, if you want to see how you can quickly cause the coming year to plummet, consider these points.

Career Colleges General Interest Online learning

5 reasons why it’s important for distance learners to read fiction

As a distance learner, are you wasting your time if you read novels?

I would argue you’re not.

While many people espouse the benefits of reading nonfiction books (of which there are many), many do not give novels credit where credit is due.

Novels can really be helpful for distance learners. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why.

1. Reading novels can help you concentrate for longer periods of time

The Internet teaches our brains to scan instead of read.

I’ve found that after reading for hours online, it can be difficult to transition to reading a novel. During those times, I feel distracted by the book, since it requires me not to skim but to concentrate for much longer periods of time than I’m used to when browsing the Internet. 

Perhaps you’ve experienced something similar when you crack open a textbook after reading online.

A 2019 study suggests that our attention spans have been shrinking in recent years. Social media, 24-hour news, and other products of the digital age are largely to blame for this.

To counteract a shrinking attention span, try reading a novel. By helping you practice concentration, reading a novel helps you develop a longer attention span. And a longer attention span can help you focus during class.

2. Reading novels can foster a love of reading

It can be tiresome if you only read academic books that require a lot of intensive thinking. Sticking with only those books you are required to read may zap some of the fun out of reading.

But with novels, the stuff you’re reading likely won’t apply to your life outside of the book. That’s why I like novels—because they’re “brain candy.”

I like to use this analogy: If all the exercise you do is strenuous, taxing workouts, you may be more likely to quit than you would be if you integrated some “just-for-fun” workouts (like a hike or a favorite sport) into your exercise routine.

In the same way, reading something for the simple joy of reading can help you stick with the habit, even when you aren’t required to read a book. And learning to love reading will help you to love learning (in general).

3. Reading novels can help you improve your writing

Being exposed to the proper use of grammatical rules on a regular basis will help you polish your own writing. This is especially good when you’re taking classes that involve writing multiple papers throughout the semester.

Finally, the best novels have a cadence that flows. So, if you want your papers to flow, get exposed to what good cadence looks like by reading a great novel.

4. Reading novels can teach you new words

As a distance learner, your classes can vary wildly between multiple fields, so having a wide variety of words to draw from can be useful. Often, I find myself learning at least a few new words when I’m reading a novel.

Side note: The built-in dictionary features of an e-book reader (such as an Amazon Kindle), can make it easier for you to expand your vocabulary. 

5. Reading novels can help you practice retaining information

Did you know you can mold your brain? This is a concept known as neural plasticity.

So, if you have trouble remembering necessary facts for an exam, you may want to mold your brain in a way that improves your memory. This is where novels can be handy.

With a lot of good novels, you have to juggle the names of multiple characters, places, fictional organizations, etc. You have to remember if a character is a villain, hero, or neither.

If you’re reading sci-fi or fantasy, you likely have to remember the names of different creatures, locations, and devices that are part of that universe.

Remembering all this stuff may not be of much use outside of reading the novel, but it allows you to get used to the idea of remembering specific pieces of information. This in turn may help you remember much-needed info for your tests.

Wrapping up

I know you have a lot of reading to do for school. But I encourage you to mix up your reading diet with a fun novel. I think you’ll be surprised with how beneficial this practice can be.

Career Colleges General Interest Online learning

6 ways distance learners can stay connected to their school (and show school spirit)

Distance learning has plenty of benefits, such as cost savings, flexibility, and the ability to learn just about anywhere, to name a few. But if you’re a distance learner, one challenge you may be facing is feeling like you belong at your college or university. 

“School spirit” may seem like a foreign term as a distance learner. Since you’re not attending in-person, is it possible to feel connected to it?

The answer: It can be. But it will take some initiative on your part. 

Let’s take a look at six ways you can foster school spirit and feel more connected to your school.

1. Get to know your classmates virtually

Building a community of fellow students is perhaps the best way to feel like you belong to a college or university. 

So, if your professor posts a discussion thread, be sure to contribute. And be sure to engage in each class. Asking relevant questions or answering questions where appropriate will help others view you as an academic resource, and they may be more likely to contact you directly. 

Group projects are also a great way to get to know others. When you meet, be sure to take advantage of any icebreaker questions that may come up. That way, you can find fellow students with similar experiences or interests.

2. Find classmates in your area

Use social media to find classmates who live in your area. If you feel comfortable, shoot them a message to see if they’d like to connect virtually. (Hint: Doing this will also give you experience in using sales techniques, since a big part of sales is reaching out to people you may not know).

Aside from social media, you can email your college counselor to see if your school has ways to connect you to other students where you live. Or you can peruse your school’s website to see if you can find any info on connecting with local students. 

Finding classmates in your area may take a little digging, but it could be worth it to feel attached to your school.

3. Watch events and games online

Whether or not you’re able to connect with fellow students in your area, you can still feel like you’re part of the school community by watching live lectures and sporting events online. 

Certainly, these events may be more enjoyable to watch with other students, but if you can’t get people together in-person, maybe get fellow students who aren’t in your area together to watch the events along with you. Then, text them throughout the lecture or game about the event. 

4. Occasionally visit the campus 

Many schools have a welcome week where they invite distance learners to explore the campus, meet their teachers, and get to know other students. Throughout the year, you may want to attend a few in-person lectures, travel to a game, or visit to hear a guest speaker. 

Take a look at your school’s calendar for the year. If possible, make plans to attend at least once a semester. And if you can’t attend in-person, be sure to attend these events virtually. 

5. Wear school apparel

This is a simple, but effective way to show your school spirit. What you wear can change how you feel about yourself, and that includes feeling connected to your school. Going out and about while displaying your school spirit can give you a sense of pride in your college or university.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll see someone else wearing your school’s logo, in which case you may want to strike up a conversation. 

6. Plan to go to your graduation

Make plans to attend your graduation in-person. It can be nice to know that one day you will likely meet many of your classmates whom you may have only met virtually. 

Wrapping up

Fostering school spirit as a distance learner is doable with a little effort. I hope these tips will help you do that.

Career Colleges Exams General Interest Online learning

7 ways to help distance learners focus for extended periods of time

Technology is a blessing to distance learners everywhere. But it’s also a curse. 

For instance, does your phone go off frequently throughout the day with calls, texts, and other notifications? And are you bombarded by pop-up windows and video ads when doing basic research for school? All these distractions make it difficult to focus on your studies.

On top of all that, the Internet has trained our brains to scan instead of read. An estimated 16% of Internet users actually read each word on a page. 

The bottom line is that technology has made it easier than ever for distance learners to be distracted. But there are some practices that will help you to stay on track academically.

1. Avoid multitasking

You’ve heard the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.” I think the same concept applies to where we divide our attention, so that the saying could read, “Doer of all tasks, master of none.”

To help you prevent doing tasks half-way, focus on one task at a time. One way to do this is by prioritizing your tasks at the start of each day or week. 

It can be tempting to think that you’re being more productive by bouncing from task to task. But maintaining focus on each task will ensure you do it correctly.

2. Listen to music or white noise

Loud, unexpected noises can break your focus, which is especially frustrating if you’re taking a test. 

Block out any unwanted noise by downloading a white noise app, buying a box fan, or listening to music. 

I would avoid listening to podcasts during this time, as those tend to require more of your attention than, say, listening to classical music.

3. Figure out your optimal time of day to work

Nearly everyone has a time of day that works best for them to be productive. And once you find yours, stick with doing your most intense work during those hours. A routine can help your brain know when it’s time to work on school, and when it can take a break.

I think you’ll be surprised at how much you accomplish with your classes by operating primarily during these optimal hours. 

4. Take brain breaks

College is often mentally strenuous. It can be helpful to allow your brain to rest periodically. 

Exercising is always a healthy way to do this, such as by going for a brisk walk or doing some weightlifting. 

But if you want to lounge while you take a break, watch an episode of your favorite TV show. If you do this, try to avoid the temptation of binge-watching. So, maybe stick with half-hour sitcoms rather than dramatic hour-long shows.

5. Don’t drink too much caffeine

As I write this piece, I’m having trouble focusing. I believe it has something to do with being on my third cup of coffee today (my normal intake is one to two cups each day). 

Caffeine can make it difficult to focus, so limit your intake in a way that makes sense for you. 

Also, being hopped-up on caffeine may make it difficult to focus during a class, which may result in you missing important information.

6. Set your phone to Do Not Disturb

This one is pretty straightforward. You can set the hours when you don’t want to be bothered, such as during your prime working hours. 

In addition, many phones allow you to activate a Silence Unknown Callers (or equivalent) feature. This can help you concentrate on your studies without being distracted by spam callers.

7. Allow yourself to not be perfect at focusing

Sometimes, you may find yourself focusing on the fact that you aren’t focusing enough. You may beat yourself up over this, which just shifts your focus from schoolwork to yourself. Plus, beating yourself up erodes your confidence. 

And whenever you approach a test or assignment, you want to have a certain level of confidence in your abilities. Don’t jeopardize that by making yourself feel insecure over having trouble focusing.

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4 blogs and 6 podcasts for distance learners interested in business

As a distance learner, you don’t have to be majoring in business to know that it’s a subject worth exploring. Business touches on nearly every organization—from hospitals to colleges to government agencies. These organizations have payroll that needs processing, news that needs to be shared, and employees who need to feel valued. All of that is part of business.

That said, learning about how business works while you’re still in school can help most distance learners have a competitive advantage over their peers once they start their career. If nothing else, being familiar with common business terms will help you sound more competent in an interview. 

Business knowledge can also help distance learners determine what major to pick. 

So, for instance, if you gain a little bit of marketing knowledge, and find you love it, then maybe you should consider majoring in it. Similarly, if you explore what human resources in a business looks like, and are turned off by what you see, maybe you should avoid pursuing an HR degree. 

If gaining a better grasp on business sounds like something you may want, consider reading blogs or listening to podcasts. Here is a brief list to get you started.

Best business blogs

If you’re a distance learner who prefers reading to gain information, check out some of my favorite business blogs:

  1. Ramsey Solutions: While this blog covers a variety of topics, from budgeting to relationships, I want to highlight their business posts. Aimed primarily at business owners with 200 or fewer employees, the posts are useful for anyone wanting to start or grow a business.
  1. Seth’s Blog: Prolific author Seth Godin is a genius. His innovative ways of thinking about doing business and interacting with your customers have really benefited my own company. He publishes a new post every day, so there’s sure to be content there that appeals to you.
  1. Business 2 Community: Full disclaimer: I wrote for these folks years ago. But their content continues to be good. They write on general business trends and for various industries like entertainment, sales, and technology.
  1. Content Marketing Institute: Even if you don’t fancy yourself to be a marketer, you may want to be familiar with best marketing practices. Especially if you’re a budding entrepreneur, you’ll need to know how to market your product or service. This blog can help you do that.

Best business podcasts

Are you too busy reading for school to read multiple blogs on a regular basis? Here are a few podcasts to consider:

  1. The Entreleadership Podcast: This podcast gives a lot of helpful tips on thriving in the business world. It’s been around for years, so there’s a large library of past episodes you can peruse.
  1. How I Built This: In this NPR podcast, Guy Raz sits down with entrepreneurs all over the world to discuss their successes, failures, and lessons learned. This is great for distance learners who are interested in the stories behind some of their favorite brands.
  1. Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield: Primarily aimed at anyone who does marketing (including small business owners), the host deals candidly with a variety of topics that connect to business, such as overcoming feelings of unworthiness. Her candid style makes her content easy to understand for folks exploring the business world
  1. Business Wars: This podcast details the stories of famous business battles throughout the years. For instance, Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola, Southwest vs. American Airlines, and Pizza Hut vs. Domino’s. Throughout each story, the narrator provides dramatic reenactments of important conversations that happened during these times.
  1. Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoran: The Shark Tank investor reveals insights into her own professional life and interviews successful entrepreneurs who dish out advice on what they’ve learned along the way.
  1. Business Made Simple with Donald Miller: What I like about this podcast is the insight Donald Miller provides on business. He helps the listener understand what might be going wrong in their business, and he gets expert tips from other successful business folks.

Wrapping up

Distance learning requires a tremendous amount of brain power to be successful. But if you can spare some brain energy for business topics, you might find it worthwhile. Try reading or listening to one or two of these recommendations, and see what you think.

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7 ways distance learners can be independent despite living with their parents

Many distance learners live with their parents throughout the course of their college years. According to 2020 research from the Pew Research Center, 52% of 18- to 29-year olds live with their parents. 

But we all know the main danger of living too long with your parents: You can end up continually dependent on them. It’s called failure to launch.

The truth, however, is that just because you live with your parents doesn’t mean you can’t have some degree of independence. For instance, you can prepare for financial independence by saving money now for purchases later down the line, such as a down payment on a house. 

As a distance learner, you are responsible for developing into an independent adult as much as you’re responsible for attaining a degree. It’s hard work, but you can do it with some effort!

If you’re concerned about not being an independent adult once you get your degree, here are some tips on what you can do. You’ve likely done or are doing one or more of these, but I hope they’ll serve as general guidelines to follow towards your path of independence.

1. Clean up after yourself

In my experience, most folks don’t live alone once they move out of their parents’ home. Having a roommate is a cost-effective way to live when you’re finished with school. And your roommate (especially if this is your spouse) probably won’t appreciate having to clean up after you. 

So, if you haven’t already, get into the habit of cleaning up around your parent’s home. This starts by doing your own laundry, cleaning any dishes you use, and cleaning your room more than once a year. 

In short, just because you’re a distance learner doesn’t mean you need to live in squalor.

2. Open a bank account if you don’t have one

Even if you don’t have much money, consider opening a bank account (if you don’t already have one). Getting comfortable having your money in a bank, using a credit or debit card, and paying bills with your own account will prepare you for financial independence. 

Plus, if your distance learning courses involve finances, you’ll likely have a greater understanding of the material by virtue of having your own bank account.

3. Have your own social life

Independence doesn’t mean you don’t rely on people—you just don’t rely on your parents as much. Personally, I relied a lot on my friends after college. 

You don’t need to have a group of 20 friends you regularly see, but it’s wise to have at least one. Distance learning can be stressful and having one or more friends that you enjoy being around can help ease the pressure.

Volunteering or joining a city league sports team can put you in a position to make new friends. If your family normally attends church, try attending a church they don’t go to. 

Build your own social network, so you can learn how to interact with a variety of people before you finish your distance learning education.

4. Learn stuff you’re not required to learn 

As a distance learner, you’re probably reading a lot of books for school. Because of this, it can be tempting to avoid learning beyond your courses. But often, the best independent adults are lifelong learners. 

Pick a subject that you want to learn more about that you can explore outside of your courses. That could include pottery, woodworking, the ins-and-outs of baseball—whatever strikes your fancy. 

I think you’ll find learning can be a lot of fun, especially when you’re not being graded on what you know.

5. Do hard things

Stepping out of your comfort zone is one of the most difficult things independent adults must do, but it is absolutely mandatory. Yes, being a distance learner means you’re going to have to work hard in school. But doing hard things goes beyond that—it’s about embracing the tough tasks in life. 

Life will often give you more responsibilities and require more of you as you age. So, getting used to doing difficult tasks will help better prepare you for life as an independent adult.

6. Take care of your health

Speaking of doing hard things, it’s important you take care of your health. This means eating well, avoiding foods that are terrible for you, and exercising regularly. In addition to getting stronger, exercise strengthens your brain, so you can do better as a distance learner.

It’s not easy but getting in control of your health will help boost your confidence, which is good for all independent adults to have. 

7. Have an exit strategy

When do you plan to move out of your parents’ house? Is it after you finish your distance learning, or are you going to wait until your 40? Having an exit strategy bolsters your independence by giving you a goal to shoot for. It also, in effect, sets a timer for when you’re going to move out on your own. 

Wrapping up

Living with one or more of your parents doesn’t mean you can’t have a degree of independence. Simple daily activities—such as exercising, cleaning, and learning for fun—are all ways you can prepare for life after school. Practicing these tips won’t necessarily be easy, but they will help you develop into an independent, mature adult.

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7 ways to ruin your distance learning experience

As a remote learner, you’ve probably read a lot about how you can get the most out of your distance ed for college experience. There is no shortage of info out there. But while you’ll find plenty of to do’s, what about the do nots? 

To change things up and have some fun, we decided to explore the most effective ways to ruin your time as a distance learner. If you’re set on sabotaging your chances for a productive and meaningful time as a student, this post is for you! We hope to give you the best advice on how to be the worst student (and all-around person) as possible.  

So, if you’re interested in getting the least out of your distance learning experience, follow these steps. You’ll be amazed at how much worse your learning experience becomes after you’ve tried one or more of these. 

(A heads up: If you haven’t guessed by now, this blog post is tongue-in-cheek so take what we recommend with a grain of salt—or two!)

1. Refuse to grow

A great way to ruin your time as a distance learner is by not pushing yourself. Growing will only help improve your time in school, and that’s not what this post is about. So, crank up your ego to 11, tell others you’re “too good to grow,” and stay stagnant!

2. Take only easy classes

To be the best at not growing, take only classes that are easy. Even if you don’t care about the subject. If it’s easy, take it. You’re likely to grow very little, if at all, which will make your distance learning experience all the worse.

3. Don’t have a plan

Not having a plan for which degree you want to pursue will make it easier to take whatever breezy course you’d like—even if they are required for majors that have nothing to do with one another. 

Distance learners who want to ruin their experience should never email, call, or otherwise speak to a college counselor. Having a plan will only enrich your time in school, so avoid having one. 

4. Don’t ask questions

To have an awful time in school, you’ll want to consider yourself too smart to ask your professors any questions. Questions mean you’re pushing your brain to think and can put you in danger of growing. 

For the worst distance learning experience possible, avoid any chat features and refuse to email your professors with your questions.

5. Complain often

Distance learners who refuse to complain are going to enjoy themselves much more. If you don’t want to be like them, and you want to make yourself and others around you miserable, be sure to complain. 

But you may think, “Even other distance learners who enjoy their experience complain from time to time.” That’s right, which is why it’s important that you complain much more often than them. Shoot for complaining at least once every 10 minutes throughout the day.

Complain about the most mundane things, like how boring it is to watch lectures. Say stuff like “You’re not getting the real college experience” as a distance learner. Or, better yet, complain about how no one has invented holographic learning technology (having that would make watching lectures a lot less boring). Stuff like that.

6. If you don’t have a job while in school, be sure not to take many classes

If the only work you’re doing is distance learning, we normally say you should have a full schedule of classes—12 to 15 credit hours, equal to roughly four or five courses. 

But you want to ruin your distance learning experience, right? So, to do that, we recommend taking only one or two courses per semester. This will lengthen the time it takes to get your degree, so you’ll have more time to truly ruin your experience.   

7. Avoid a social life

Friends can often inspire you to grow, so it’s best to avoid any. Having friends in your life can make it difficult to sulk and be miserable. After all, you don’t want to risk someone correcting you after you’ve expressed your God-given right to complain about everything related to distance learning. Suffering through your time as a distance learner is most effectively done alone. 

Bonus tip: Never visit this site again

We post too much information about how to get the most out of your distance learning experience. So, if you’re hoping to do the opposite, don’t come here. You’ll only be tempted to enjoy your distance learning experience.

Career Colleges Exams General Interest Online learning

For distance learners: 7 ways to reduce test anxiety

College exams can be stressful, especially if you’re a freshman distance learner. Take open-book exams, for example. The first time I ever had an open-book test was in college. I thought, “Great! I’ll have all the answers available to me, so it shouldn’t be too hard.” Boy, was I wrong.

In fact, I came to dread open-book exams because the questions seemed a lot tougher and more extensive than multiple-choice tests. 

That’s not to say multiple-choice exams don’t have their own stressors. In my experience multiple choice exams tend to have four potential answers: Two that are clearly wrong and two that could be correct. Choosing one of these two options can create a lot of stress.

You may be one of many distance learners who tend to have test anxiety. And there’s nothing wrong with having that. Recognizing that the anxiety is there is nothing to be ashamed about. But there are ways to reduce your anxiety, as I’ll discuss in this post. 

Let’s jump in!

1. Take a deep breath

You may want to practice breathing exercises such as 4-7-8 breathing. With this exercise, you exhale through your mouth before inhaling through your nose for a count of four. You then hold your breath and count to seven. Finally, you exhale out your mouth for a count of eight. 

When you’re sitting at home in front of your computer, and you’re about to take a test, I recommend practicing this exercise. Personally, I’ve found breathing exercises like this one help me calm down when I’m feeling anxious. 

2. Change negative thoughts

If you tell yourself that you’re not smart and you won’t be able to do well on a test, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Consider changing these negative thoughts into something positive. 

Remind yourself that you were smart enough to become a distance learning college student, so you’re smart enough to do well on this test. Beating yourself up before a big exam won’t help you do better. Be kind to yourself.

3. Watch what you eat and drink

Foods like salmon, tuna, blueberries, and dark chocolate can help boost blood flow, delivering healthy nutrients to your brain. This can help you think better, so you can have more confidence come exam time. You may also want to explore other brain-boosting foods, such as spinach and oranges.  

As far as drinking is concerned, you should limit your caffeine intake as this can make you feel more stressed than you actually are. As a distance learner, you likely have a coffee machine nearby. Try to resist the temptation to make an extra cup of coffee.

You’ll also want to keep hydrated, which helps your brain function in tip-top condition. Keeping a water bottle near your home workstation can be a good reminder to drink water throughout the day.

4. Get on your feet

Exercise can relieve stress by pumping your body full of endorphins, which are feel-good neurotransmitters your brain produces. 

Aim for at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week. If you’re having trouble doing this, start off by exercising less and slowly increasing your frequency.

As a distance learner, you may not be walking as much as the average on-campus student who must constantly go to different buildings throughout the day. That’s why, as a distance learner, it’s especially important for you to keep exercise in mind.

You could treat this like any other class project. Create a plan, find a partner to exercise with you, and stick with it. 

5. Go outside

Another way to get some exercise is by reconnecting with Mother Nature and getting outside! Not having to traverse a college campus means you’ll have to be intentional with your outdoor time. 

Vitamin D has been shown to reduce stress, so it’s a great excuse to take a walk and soak up some sun before that big exam.  

6. Take breaks throughout your day

Ideally, you’ll begin studying for an exam a week or more before it. This will give you more freedom to take breaks from your studies. Doing so helps your mind take a break from any stress you may be experiencing.

This can be as simple as cooking a meal or reading a comic book.

As a distance learner, you’re constantly looking at your computer. Because of this, I recommend taking a break from screens altogether.

Taking a mental break from your studies — especially before bedtime — will help you relax and sleep better. 

7. Get enough sleep the night before your test

Adequate sleep reduces stress and helps restore your mind, so you can concentrate and solve problems. I recommend reading something light before bedtime. So, put down your textbook and pick up a novel or a nonfiction book that helps take your mind off of your upcoming test. 
According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults typically need at least seven to nine hours of sleep. Being a distance learner can be really beneficial when it comes to sleep. After all, you won’t have to deal with a noisy dorm that can keep you awake.

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You don’t need a traditional college campus to find a spouse

“We met in college.” 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard married couples say that. 

And while it’s true that many people meet their future spouse on a college campus, not everyone does. 

In fact, college campuses are far from the only places to meet a mate. As a distance learner, you may be unaware of all the options you have for meeting that special someone. 

In this post, I’ll talk about five ways distance learners can meet new friends of the opposite sex. 

I say “friends” because the best spouses tend to start off as best friends. The romance blossoms from that friendship. So, the goal here should be focused on making new friends. You can stop a relationship before it starts if you’re only viewing someone as a potential spouse. 

Let’s check out some ways you can kickstart your social life, which may (hopefully) lead to new friends and a spouse.

1. Get involved in a church

I don’t recommend joining a church for the sole purpose of finding a spouse. You should like the teaching and mission of the church before you commit to it. 

But if you want to make friends from your church, you may want to consider serving or joining a co-ed small group. Doing so will introduce you to people, one of whom may end up being your life partner.

2. Volunteer

Like joining a church, meeting people shouldn’t be the only reason you’re volunteering. So, pick a nonprofit organization you really admire and volunteer on a regular basis. 

Other people who volunteer there will likely share at least some of your beliefs and values, so it can be a great way to meet new people of the opposite sex.

3. Using one or more dating apps

As a distance learner, you’re likely pretty technically savvy. Fortunately, there are a ton of dating apps out there. Three that I used were Hinge, Coffee Meets Bagel, and eHarmony

I like these three because there is only so much you can do on them before you start seeing the same people pop up. This is different from Match and OKCupid, both of which you could easily waste hours and hours on searching for someone to date. 

4. Get people together

If you’re practicing distance learning in an area where you have lived for years, you may already have friends. But do you know their friends?

Meeting the friends of your existing friend group is a great way to expand your social network.

Host a party or game night. Invite a group of people to a restaurant or a park. The point is to get around people you haven’t met, so encourage your friends to bring some of their friends whom you may not know. 

A lot of people find their spouses by meeting their friends’ friends, so this might be a good strategy to take.

I have several friends who met their spouses this way. They didn’t all start off attracted to one another, but as their friendship with one another grew, they developed that romantic connection. 

5. Join a Meetup group for folks with similar interests

If you enjoy playing board games, there’s probably a Meetup group for that in your area. Love to play soccer? There’s likely a group near you for that, too. Most of these groups are co-ed, so trying out one or two may be a good idea.

6. Exercise

As a distance learner, you should exercise regularly to help you think better and live a healthier life. If staying active is important to you, you’re probably looking for someone who is active, too. Joining a CrossFit gym or enrolling in an exercise class at the local YMCA are both places where you can meet someone like this. 

If gyms aren’t your thing, you may want to consider another form of exercise: dancing. It’s likely there’s a place for swing dancing or salsa dancing near you. A lot of times, these dancing events occur regularly, so you’re likely to make new friends if you stick with it.

Wrapping up

When I was a senior on a college campus, I remember thinking, “This is my last year to find a wife.” I’m so glad I was wrong. It took a few years and a great deal of perseverance, but eventually, I found my wife through a dating app (Coffee Meets Bagel). 

As a college student, I wouldn’t have expected to meet her that way, but I’ve learned that there are multiple ways to meet the love of your life. And as you can see, none of the ways I provided require a college campus, which is good news for distance learners looking for love.

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For distance learners: 6 superfoods (and 1 liquid) that will kickstart your brain

As a distance learner, your life is likely busy. Classes, homework, and life in general can make it difficult to eat healthy. It can be tempting to just grab fast food instead of asserting the effort to make a home-cooked meal. 

While many folks discovered the joy of cooking healthier food during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, others may still feel uneasy about cooking.

In this blog post, we’ll share a handful of healthy foods to help kickstart (and sustain) your learning. Fortunately, many of the brain-boosting foods we’ll discuss can be eaten right on their own. So even if you don’t have time to cook between meals (especially when facing a big exam), there are some superfoods you can eat while on-the-go.

Let’s dive in!

Dark chocolate

When you go to your online class, make sure a handful of dark chocolates are nearby. The dark chocolate’s cocoa is loaded with flavonoids that help increase the blood flow to your brain and improve brain function. In fact, cocoa has the highest flavonoid content by weight out of any other food. 

With this jump to your brain, you’ll likely be better at solving problems, paying attention, and remembering facts that will be on the next test. And when test-time comes, you may want to eat a few beforehand to help you perform at the top of your game.


Nuts such as almonds are packed with vitamins and protein that can help you concentrate when studying for that big exam. In addition, walnuts can improve your memory due to the antioxidants that fight against cognitive decline. 

I’ve found that nuts help me stay full longer than other snack foods like potato chips or cookies, which is good for learning.

Having a belly that isn’t rumbling can allow you to focus on your homework and help you work for longer stretches at a time. 

Dark leafy green vegetables

A 2018 report in the journal Neurology states that eating a serving of green leafy vegetables a day can help prevent cognitive decline. If you’re not an older person, the brain benefits are still there. The nutrients found in these veggies, such Vitamins A, C, and K, can help boost your brain functions. 

The following are some examples of this superfood:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Swiss chard
  • Collard greens
  • Turnip greens

You could go all-in and make a spinach, kale, chard, collard, and turnip casserole or shake. It might not taste great, but your brain will appreciate it.

Wild salmon

This fatty fish is a fantastic source of Omega-2 oil DHA, which can improve your memory and focus. It also includes Vitamins A and D, both of which can help boost brain function. 

If you have a long night of studying ahead of you, you may want to cook up some salmon to kickstart your brain. The protein should help you stay full enough for the length of the test, which means you’ll be less distracted.


The antioxidants in berries help protect the cells in your brain. Berries can also assist in improving your thinking and motor skills. They also can prevent inflammation in the brain.

It may be a good idea to keep berries in your fridge. They are a healthy alternative to other sweet or sour snacks you could choose. 

Here are a few common berries you can likely find in your local grocery store:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries
  • Blackberries

Citrus Fruits

The polyphenols in citrus fruits have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties that can help keep your brain safe from harm. These polyphenols also help your brain function better. 

Some common citrus fruits include:

  • Oranges
  • Tangerines
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemons
  • Key limes

Consider adding an orange or grapefruit to your meal. Doing so could provide some solid cognitive benefits.


Dehydration isn’t great for mental fatigue, and it contributes to the premature aging of your brain. A lack of water can also affect your memory, making it more difficult to retain information.

I’ve discovered that if I don’t drink enough, I’ll get headaches. And since pain and learning don’t mix well, it’s best to drink plenty of water. 

So how much water should you be drinking each day? While the research on this varies, men should stick with three liters (13 cups) and women should drink a little over two liters (9 cups).

If you don’t have a refillable water bottle, I recommend getting one. Just like you need water before or after exercising, you need water when you learn and problem-solve. 

Wrapping up

There are plenty of foods you can eat to keep your brain in tip-top condition. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and remember to be conscious of what you eat, since doing so can help you in school. Your brain is what’s going to get you that degree, so take care of it by eating right.