Third-year student Poppy Colbourne shares five top tips for virtual learning and studying at home.
With bush fires, major storms and now a global pandemic, it’s safe to say 2020 has been quite an eventful year - and we’re only three months in! Bath Spa is now operating as a virtual university with teaching and learning moving online – but we're not going to let COVID-19 stop us from achieving our best.
Here are my five top tips for staying productive when learning and studying from home.
1. Get dressed
One perk of self-isolation is you don’t have to make an effort with your appearance as no one is going to see you. But it's important to remain as productive as you can, and by staying in your pyjamas you are subconsciously setting yourself up for a ‘lazy-day’ – not helpful when you have work to do! Getting dressed will help you get into a productive mindset – it doesn't have to be your Sunday best, anything that you wouldn’t sleep in will do!
2. Have a study area
This may sound like common sense, but stay with me. Dedicating a particular area of the house or flat to studying will help you implement a work-rest balance. It's advised you don’t work in areas where you would traditionally rest such as your bedroom, however, if this is unavoidable then try and assign an area of your room (ideally not your bed) exclusively to study.
3. Write down goals for each study session
Know what you want to get out of each session, for example, consolidating a particular topic. Then write down a set of tasks that will help you achieve this goal, for instance, write keyword flashcards, read a certain chapter of a book and make notes about it. Give yourself a time limit to do this to avoid procrastination, but don’t worry if you haven’t finished everything in that time – you can always come back to it later. Try to be reasonable with your goals and times – you're unlikely to learn a whole new topic in an hour.
4. Work and rest in intervals
It's hard to sit down for a prolonged period of time without getting distracted or losing focus. So it's advised you split your study time into chunks, the most common is 25 minutes working and a 5 minute break. This gives you time to make tea, use the bathroom, WASH YOUR HANDS and check social media without eating into your study time and causing you to get completely distracted for hours. A good app for this is Hold – sign up with your Bath Spa email account and you'll get access to all the features.
5. Practise mindfulness
There's a lot of anxiety circulating at the moment due to the uncertainty that's arrived with the pandemic, but it's important to not get overwhelmed. If you're a third-year student like me you are likely panicking about many different things, but that won’t help us here and now. By practising mindfulness we can maintain a healthy outlook and minimise distracting thoughts. There are lots of online resources to help you, including:
- Fika – a mental fitness app offering emotional exercises specifically aimed at students
- Headspace – a mindfulness app, currently offering a free collection of guided meditations called Weathering the Storm
Remember, the coronavirus advice page is regularly updated so you can see what the University is doing to support students and find answers to frequently asked questions.
Share your tips
To quote an iconic character, this is a "whole new world" and none of us are really sure what awaits us on the other side. We need to stick together and support each other through this - who knows, you could end up making lifelong friends.
We would love to see how you are adjusting to the virtual world so feel free to send your photos and top tips to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can share your creativity. You’ve got this!
Disclaimer: The Bath Spa blog is a platform for individual voices and views from the University's community. Any views or opinions represented in individual posts are personal, belonging solely to the author of that post, and do not represent the views of other Bath Spa staff, or Bath Spa University as an institution.
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