Online Learning in the midst of a Pandemic

Learning in the current climate has been a challenge. But don’t worry I have listed a couple of tips below that might be used to help incoming students adapt to online learning.

Christian Richardson – BA English with Creative Writing

Study Space

Whether you are sharing an environment with flatmates or living at home, finding space to study can be difficult. I personally work best in an environment that is free from distractions, so I had to get creative with my study solutions. I was lucky enough to have a small walk-in closet that I repurposed as a study space: I used my clothes drawers and a dining table chair as a makeshift desk, added some fairy lights and a cactus et voila!

For those who don’t have the privilege of a walk-in wardrobe or some other space, you might wish to create something more temporary; this could be a comfy corner in a bedroom, or somewhere outdoors. Whatever you choose to do, I found using personal objects to customise the space made it comfortable and gave the area a purpose.

Time Management & Planning my day

I found it beneficial to manage my time into slots of 1 hour with dedicated breaks. It is worth noting that some tasks may take longer than others for example, listening to audio recordings of poetry did not take as long as reading a text and making notes. In these instances, I used my initiative and sometimes worked through my break times if I felt I was on a roll.

I worried that without the structure of day-to-day life (lectures, seminars, work) I would struggle to organise my day but after a week of recalibrating myself, I decided to take action. I created daily plans that I stuck on my fridge, for example:

  • 8am – Wake up.
  • 8:30 am – Breakfast.
  • 9am – Attend Online Seminar.
  • 11am – Independent Study.
  • 1pm – Lunch Time.

While simple, these steps helped me to stay on top of my workload and I feel that when this is all over, I will have a new skill under my belt.It’s also important to mention that that worry, stress and anxiety are to be expected when adapting to something new. Rather than shutting these emotions out, when organising my daily tasks, I would also schedule in an hour or two where I allowed myself to deal with those anxious thoughts.

Since my worries came from deadlines, I was able to plan my time in a way that it eased these feelings and resulted in a better peace of mind.

Reach Out for Help

Reach out – don’t suffer in silence. The mistake I made early on was forgetting that my professors and peers were still there to help me. After a period of quiet panic, I spoke in confidence to a couple of friends about my situation and they advised me to speak to my professor, and I am glad I did. I emailed my Professor and within 24 hours they had emailed me pdf copies of reading materials and one even offered to post me a book.

On a second note, this also applies if you are struggling to cope mentally. The university’s Mental Health and Wellbeing team and the School’s Student Support team (Suzi pictured above) are available for support and you should contact them if you feel the need to.

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