Following the coronavirus outbreak, our day-to-day lives were disrupted and we were quickly forced to change the way we work, learn and interact. On an academic level, we shifted to an online teaching format and getting used to this new norm was challenging and still is for most students, including myself.
As a 3rd year BSc Management Science student, there is a lot to keep on top of and staying organised while learning to adapt may not be easy, but here are some tips that stuck with me and made my experience more enjoyable and enriching.
choose and organise your study space wisely
Being used to studying in the campus library or even cafes made transitioning to working at home especially hard but creating an effective study space helped me preserve my motivation to work.
You first need to determine an area where you can sit and work with no distractions and strictly dedicate it to studying. Most importantly, DO NOT study on your bed as you might just give in to the nap temptation! Creating a clear distinction between where you study and where you relax makes it easier to concentrate on your work by speeding up the process of getting into a working mindset.
And it’s key to make sure to declutter your study space by only keeping the things that are essential to completing your work since that is sure to improve your focus.
Create a schedule and hold yourself accountable
Under the current circumstances, maintaining a healthy routine is challenging. You lose your sense of time or get caught up with other tasks and then end up missing lectures unwillingly. As the workload grows, assignments accumulate and you get overwhelmed when you suddenly realise you have numerous deadlines in the same week. Trust me, that additional stress is no fun.
The most efficient solution is to set reminders for everything, from classes to required reading and deadlines.
I also found it extremely helpful to use visual reminders such as wall calendars in my room and daily to-do lists to keep track of my deadlines and ongoing tasks. That way, you can schedule your day and weeks accordingly.
However, while organising your week is a major step to working efficiently, it is also essential to make sure that plan is followed. If you’re having trouble holding yourself accountable, it may be useful to team up with a classmate or friend to check in and keep each other motivated.
Reach out to your lecturers and personal tutors
Not being able to see your lecturers in person does not mean they are no longer available to help. Contrarily, they are more than willing to do so, as everyone realises how hard it is to adapt to a new teaching format.
Therefore, try to take advantage of your office hours. Lecturers schedule these sessions to fully dedicate time to their students. It gives you the opportunity to get one-on-one advice and answers to your questions.
It’s easy to overthink these meetings but don’t forget that making use of this time is what lecturers want you to do. They are here to help and assist you so do not hesitate to reach out! If you don’t feel comfortable joining these virtual meetings, sending an email is a good alternative but think ahead and email in good time to allow time for a response.
Besides academic issues or if you are struggling with stress or other personal concerns, discussing them with your personal tutor can help you relax as they listen to your worries but also share their advice and support with finding solutions for your problems.
Be kind to yourself
Taking care of yourself is key to having a successful online learning experience.
While focusing on your studies and completing your work is essential, it is just as important to take breaks in between your working sessions. Overworking and neglecting your health actually makes your efforts meaningless.
One way to think about it is that with online learning, you have more time available to allocate to work or relaxing. In that sense, there is no need to pressure yourself into working as much as possible within a limited time frame. In reality, you have more time than necessary! So within your daily work schedule, think of incorporating breaks.