In this blog, UL Student Ambassador Neha Misri shares her top tips on how to handle college online. While virtual learning can be difficult, Neha’s advice could be really useful for those willing to give this semester their best shot!
With the new news of Level 5 being extended till 5th March 2021 means more online classes, more staying indoor and more of screen time.
SIGH! There seems to be no end to it.
University has closed the doors as per regulations and most of us are doing online lectures and facing the prospect of online exams in brand new formats. I know that for some this is a worrying and challenging time; it is for me. If you are finding it difficult to focus or stick to your study schedule, it is important not to beat yourself up about it. It is not hard because you are not good enough to do it, it is just hard. For everyone—including lecturers.
So it is important to keep ourselves fit and sane, mentally, and physically. Here are a few tips which I think work for me, jotting them down for you.
Create a study schedule
Set a time to log into your online classes each day. Use an alarm, a reminder, whatever works for you. Proper time management is essential.
You may have some regular lecture times you need to attend, but you should also make time on your own end for review. This is especially important if you’re required to review some of the course materials on your own.
Use calendars, post-it notes and reminders
Online learning needs structure. Create a study calendar that will help you remember all the important exam dates or deadlines for submitting your assignments. You can save your calendar on your computer or your mobile device. You can even create a wall planner if you’re more of a visual type of person, which you can mark up and check every time you study.
Take advantage of productivity apps
We live in the digital age. Whatever you need to do, there’s probably an app that can either do it for you or make it a lot easier. These fantastic productivity extensions and applications make studying or working less of a hassle. They help to track your progress, organise tasks, set reminders, or make other apps work the way you want.
There are numerous productivity apps out there. Here are only a few examples:
- Any.do, Todoist
- Google Calendar
- Gmail, Outlook
- Google Drive, OneDrive, Dropbox
- KanbanFlow, Trello
If you want to work or study efficiently, it’s important to keep away any object that can distract you. For example, try to leave you phone in another room (don’t put it on silent, though, you don’t want to miss any calls) or behind your laptop or monitor so you won’t be tempted to scroll through your feed on Facebook or Instagram.
Avoiding social media or limiting the time you spend on it is especially important now when most of the news is related to the new coronavirus. It’s useful to stay informed, but it is even more helpful to keep some distance and take care of your emotional and mental wellbeing.
If you’re still tempted to use your phone, mute the notifications from social media and other non-essential apps. This way, you won’t be distracted from your work by a new like to that meme you posted on your feed.
If it ain’t Lo-fi, it’s gotta go
Most people prefer listening to music while they are studying or working. But it shouldn’t be any kind of music. I mean, let’s face it: if it’s our favourite song, it will make us dance or sing along.
Instrumental music can help you focus. For example, give Lo-fi music a try. There are plenty of YouTube Lo-fi playlists specifically created for studying. Many students use them when they’re studying for their exams or working on projects.
Movie scores are still a thing, so think about your favourite movie and look up that OST on your music app – studying becomes an epic task when the GOT soundtrack is playing in the background. Other alternatives include any type of music or playlist that helps you to release stress and focus on the task at hand.
Find a routine that works for you
While you’re still enjoying your morning coffee, try to schedule the main tasks of the day. Use your favourite time management app or sticky notes to decide when you’re going to study, when you’ll take breaks, and how you’ll reward yourself for each completed task.
Make sure your daily routine isn’t entirely different from a typical day outside of quarantine. Dress up as if you’re going to classes or work. Your online presence matters, and you might have to turn on your camera during meetings or calls. So, drop those fluffy pyjamas and wear a cool outfit instead.
Also, don’t be so hard on yourself. Sometimes, you’ll only finish 2 important tasks out of the 5 set for the day. That’s okay. Experiment and find a rhythm that works for you. Try the 2-day rule, for instance. It’s a simple method to build healthy habits.
How does it work? Let’s say you want to study for 2 hours every day. With the 2-day rule, you can skip studying for one day, but the next day you have to get back to your schedule. You can even skip 2 or 3 days in a week, just make sure you don’t connect them because that will break your successful streak.
Create a dedicated study space
Create a place that you only associate with studying or working; it will help you get into a productive state easier. Although it’s tempting, this should not be your bed or sofa. I know, they are pleasant places to warm up with your laptop, but they are anything but good for your productivity.
A simple table and a comfortable chair can make the cut. But make it hygge – light up a candle or find the spot in your home that has the perfect lighting and enjoy the sun. Don’t forget to personalise the study place. Add plants, your favourite figurines, pictures, or motivational quotes – if that’s your thing.
Dance like nobody’s watching…literally
Sometimes working or attending online courses from home can trick you into staying in front of the computer for hours. Make sure you’re staying as healthy and active as you can.
You can use breaks to find activities that really motivate you to get moving – it doesn’t have to be a boring workout routine. Simply play that favourite uplifting song and, in the words of Lady Gaga, just dance. Dance like nobody’s watching – literally, since we’re all keeping a social distance.
Stay in touch
Studying on campus or working in an office can be particularly fun if you enjoy socialising during breaks. Why not do the same while studying online or working from home?
You can create a group chat where everyone can log in during breaks and make the most of your free time by talking to the people you miss. Maybe you want to show them your pet or your new funky quarantine haircut – just make sure you turn that camera on so you can keep it fun and personal.
See? Studying from home doesn’t have to be boring or unnecessarily complicated. You can combine my suggestions with your own tips and tricks and create a schedule that would make even the most productive entrepreneurs jealous.
Remember to take regular breaks and use your free time for the things that make you smile and lift your mood. It can be anything from cooking, playing video games, finishing an online course, you name it. There are a lot of things you can do during the quarantine, so make this an excellent time for your development on all levels.