On paper, it sounds like the dream, right? You don’t have to go into university lectures every day. Instead, you can sit in your sweatpants while listening to your professor have technical difficulties with lecture slides, your kettle freshly boiling in the background. Yet, in reality, this won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
For prospective university students, if online learning is still in place come September, this will feel like a strange deviation from the norm. Unless executed in the right way, it could really hinder your learning. But, it doesn’t have to. We want to help you out!
So, here’s a few tips we’ve found useful when having to learn from home:
Start Your Day Right
Many of us become best friends with the snooze button. When learning from home, it can be all too easy to lie in bed longer than you should. This will make you lethargic, robbing you of productive working hours. Create a morning routine to avoid this. Whether it involves exercising, showering, eating breakfast, getting changed, brushing your teeth, some or all of the above, this will ignite your morning, preparing you for the day ahead.
app helps track consistency, to develop good morning habits. Find out what works best for you, be consistent, and you’ll be set up nicely for the rest of the day. Streaks
Set Your Hours
Treat your day as you would if you were going into college or uni. You will already likely have a timetable of scheduled online lecture and tutorial times. Develop your set study hours around this, in order to breed good working habits, to maintain structure in your day, and to allow you to switch off when you need to step away.
app works seamlessly in organising your daily schedule, while My Study Life will allow you to lay out your tasks, thereby decluttering the mind. Be mindful of when your most productive hours are. You don’t want to be burning the candle at both ends. Trello
Have a Dedicated Study Space
You are a product of your environment. Over time the human brain develops associations between your environment and what you typically do there. If you choose to learn in bed, this will hinder your ability to sleep. It’s best to craft a separate working space, so when you’re there, you know it’s time to work.
Be sure to avoid distractions, to optimise your environment. If that means turning off your phone for a few hours, you’ll survive without it. But, if you really can’t stand the thought of your device being off, download the
app. Why? This will help keep you focussed and present. Flora
By not checking your phone, and keeping the app open, a virtual tree will begin to grow. The longer you go without leaving the app, the bigger your forest will grow. You can challenge your friends too, to see who can maintain their focus for longer.
Don’t overdo it! It’s not realistic to be working for hours on end with no break. Your typical day at uni won’t be like this, with lectures and tutorials being split up for a reason. The brain needs a chance to rest, so study at your own pace and recover and replenish in between sessions.
Use this time to move about, whether it be around the house, the garden or the one bit of exercise that you are currently allowed outside of the house during this pandemic.
for some fun dance classes to get you moving during your breaks, or double Olympics gymnast champion Oti Mabuse who is offering a range of 10-minute body workouts that you can easily slip into your routine. Max Whitlock MBE
Humans are social creatures - we need each other. Struggling with learning from home? Message your professor for tutor support, or chat to a classmate. On breaks, talk to friends or family that you live with, or jump on a video call and allow the mind to be nourished by human interaction. Scheduling these in throughout the day can be a nice way of splitting up your workload too.
Take Regular Exercise
Exercise can easily slip out of our routine. With gyms & studios being shut for the foreseeable future, it’s all too easy to put obstacles in the way. Try not to! There’s a lot you can do in the confines of your home to keep active and healthy.
There are endless exercise routines online to numb any excuses, with
, F45 , and the boys over at Freeletics all providing free-to-access routines. The Lean Machines
If some virtual classes are what you’re after to ignite that motivation, mosey on over to
or Off The Rails . Off The Rails provides an eclectic mix of virtual classes across Zoom and Instagram Live throughout the week, with Move Your Frame allowing you to choose from a variety of classes online that you can conduct in the comfort of your living room. Move Your Frame
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is the most important piece of advice on this list. Most uni students, at one time or another, are guilty of dipping into those precious 7-8 hours we all need. We could not discourage this more. Learning at home gives you the ability to plan your time well, so you won’t need to stay up late studying. Lack of sleep negatively affects our mood, appetite, memory consolidation, and most poignantly right now, our immune system.
If you struggle to sleep, try downloading
. The meditation-based app offers an array of free sleep music, sleep casts, soundscapes and meditations that will help you drift off into the night. Although much of their content requires a £4.99/month paid subscription, they offer plenty of the basic courses for free, which is all you need to begin beneficial meditation habits. Headspace
These days, the only certainty seems to be change. We’re all in the same boat, doing our best to paddle through the unknown. Successfully studying from home will require flexibility & adjustment. Keeping the tips mentioned above in mind will allow you to flourish, and make learning online feel as though you’ve been doing it forever.
All in all, remember to find a balance of keeping up to date with what’s going on whilst being able to step away from all things COVID-19. Look after yourself as best you can. Listen to your body. Practice self-care. Engage with what brings you joy. Chat to friends. Chat to family. Chat to the cat. Chat to the dog! Most importantly, try to have some fun whilst learning from home.
- Coronavirus: Adapting to Doing Your University Course Online
- Coronavirus: Advice for Students Coping with Isolation