Studying at Home: A How-to Guide
It’s a difficult time for us all at the moment with Coronavirus disrupting our daily lives and routines. Although it is difficult doing a degree at the best of times, this current situation has made many students feel overwhelmed as our mental, physical, and financial wellbeing appears to be constantly tested under the increasing strain of lockdown. However there are a number of best practices we should take into consideration as good methods of both keeping productive and healthy.
Managing your time effectively requires a few basic necessities to start off with. Usually at least a minor interest in what you are doing helps, along with the motivation to actually get some work done. A good night’s sleep is a vital start to hitting that motivational sweet spot. More than seven and less than ten hours is always a good measure. Next, designate a study area that you can work at effectively. Studies have shown that working in areas where you also do other activities such as napping (bed) playing video games (sofa) or watching YouTube videos (toilet) have a bad effect on your ability to do real work, also vice versa, those places you once identified as the fun zone quickly turn into the spreadsheets and theory station which will make it harder to relax in those areas.
Many people have the “Right Time” that they can work at, night owls who love to work into the wee hours of the morning or early birds who wake up energised. It changes depending on the person, but find out what time of the day you have that burst of energy and tailor that time as your work second, minute, or hour. My own method is to do at least an hour of work a day. That may not be much but a good productive hour can be more useful than five hours of daydreaming just looking at a textbook and not actually doing anything.
Procrastination and distraction are prevalent at the moment but even a little bit of planning and organization can ensure you don’t use the entirety of your lockdown wasting away on Netflix (as we all have done before). A great way of keeping your mental health above water is by performing at least half an hour of exercise per day whether it is jogging, walking, or (for the less inclined) star jumps in your room. It’s amazing how better you can feel about the world around you when you get some oxygen flowing through you. Alternatively have a shower, that’s an even faster way of waking you up. Perhaps divide your workflow up into a variety of tasks so the mundane is less life-threateningly boring and treat yourself now again for finishing off that big project or nailing that maths quiz with a takeaway or chocolate.
Thankfully, my lecturers at the University of Derby have been more than helpful ensuring my education isn’t hindered by current matters and I still feel ready more than ever to join the real world work force next year after third year. I never felt alone or under-prepared and it is thanks to the above-and-beyond service of the support staff and their unending commitment. Many universities have also implemented a non-detriment policy in which students will at least obtain their average grade so far in the year or with a better grade depending on results. This is to make sure those hit worse due to COVID-19 won’t be disadvantaged against their peers and this is a great step to ensuring an easy transition between the academic years.
An upshot of the current situation is that a lot of us have a considerable amount of free time that has opened many up to pursue a forgotten or old passion. For me, piano and drawing have been at the top of my list and you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve learnt three blind mice almost masterfully.
Remote study is something we all have been dealing with. Between the awkward pauses, freezing issues, and dodgy connections, it is commendable that lecturers keep to their promise of teaching and set up their own cameras, microphones, and lesson plans for us all, keeping our minds occupied (if only for a few hours a day). This immediate and reactionary digital take-over of the education system will surely be echoed long after this virus has ended and it is thanks to all of those awkward pauses, freezing issues, and dodgy connections that we still have an education to cheer on.