Published by Sophie
on 20/05/2020

In these ever-changing, unprecedented times, students all over the globe are having to adjust to a new way of learning! With cancelled exams, new University policies, and online classes and exams, we are all finding out feet in amongst these new academic ways.

Having just completed my study abroad year here in the UK (including 3 weeks of online classes, 4 written assignments and 2 exams), it is safe to say that I have picked up some do’s and don’ts of working online/from home, and wanted to share some hints and tips for you all going forward!

1. Get into a routine
This can be as rigid, or as loose as you choose, but getting into a routine is key! Even if that just involves waking at the same time Monday through Friday, and scheduling lunch, and breaks between classes. I found that waking at 8am, having lunch at 1pm and giving myself a 15 minute break between tasks was integral to my success in completing all of my remaining work for the year online. I also found that leaving my weekends free to either relax, or to focus on assignments was a lot more beneficial than had I spent my time catching up on class work! I think that a bit of structure is helpful in tricking our brains into forgetting that anything is all that different to normal!

2. Attend classes on time
Now this one is for the times when we don’t have live lectures/zoom meetings to attend. I know, in my case, many of my professor’s pre-recorded lectures, or provided work in the form of PowerPoints, and so I found “attending class” and doing the work for each module at the usual time that class would be was a great way of keeping a sense of normality. It also means that there is less temptation to leave work to the last minute, which helps in preparing for at home exams, and assignments.

3. Stay hydrated
Such a simple thing, but oh so easy to forget. Being hydrated ensures better concentration and alertness: so get drinking that water!

4. Continue to celebrate small (and big) achievements
Being at home can make it more difficult to concentrate for some, especially without the resources of 1:1 staff aid and resources from the library etc., and so I think is twice as important to celebrate small successes! You finished all of your class work and managed to plan an essay?! Amazing! You finally edited that bibliography despite the noise of younger siblings arguing?! Well done! You submitted that essay that you never imagined you would be able to complete on time?! Go you! Though we might not be able to celebrate in the usual ways—be it a drink at The Soak with friends, or a trip to the cinema with your partner—you can celebrate with a take-away, by giving yourself a longer lunch break the next day, by spending some time with your dog, or organising a group zoom call with your pals.

Overall, it is important to acknowledge that this new way of life isn’t going to be plain sailing for everyone. But in practising some simple and easily enforced day-to-day things, online classes and exams can quickly become the new normal.

If you are looking for some Corona-free content, I do daily updates on what I am getting up to over on my Instagram @sophie_kxo. Perhaps I can provide you with some momentary relief from work, or even some ideas on how to be productive in lockdown.

Stay safe, stay well