It goes without saying that exams, education, and studying this year are sure to look rather different to most years. Given the ongoing COVID-related uncertainty, we’re now faced with adapting creatively to these changes, rather than holding on for things to get back to a sense of ‘normal’. Here are some top tips that you might find useful when studying at home. Stay safe and study well!
- Optimise your workspace
Have you recently found yourself stuck in a less-than-ideal workspace and you’re now faced with transforming this into a zen, inspirational, distraction-free working environment? Don’t panic – there are ways of making your little corner of the world feel slightly more study-suitable, whatever your situation.
Start by thinking about the most ideal workstation you could possibly imagine. It may be your favourite corner of the university library, or a cosy spot in your local coffee shop. What are the features of this place that make it feel so conducive to studying well? You may, for example, enjoy working in an environment that has a bit of ‘hustle and bustle’, or you may cherish a warm, comfortable spot to read through your study notes. Once you’ve identified the best features of your ideal place, you can start to translate this to your less-than-ideal spot at home. It’s all about rekindling a sense of familiarity.
This may, of course, require a bit of creativity. For example, if you love studying in coffee shops, you might find it useful to play ‘Coffee shop sounds’ on YouTube through your headphones as you work. If you like a comfy corner, you could think about rearranging furniture and cushions to emulate this at home. Find what makes your study brain ‘tick’ and get as close to that as you can. The libraries and coffee shops will welcome you back with open arms, when it’s safe to do so!
- Practice the art of self-care
‘Self-care’ has been talked about a lot recently, in various different forms. Self-care, ultimately, is the act of showing yourself the same level of compassion, kindness, and respect that you are so used to showing to other people. It is of particular importance in the ongoing situation, particularly when comes to studying.
You may adapt well to the COVID-19 situation, and you may, in time, find that you are able to restore some sense of normality into your studying schedule. However, you should remember that these are unusual, unprecedented, challenging times. You are not simply ‘working from home’, you are working at home due to an ongoing global crisis. Therefore, it may not be helpful to judge your productivity and studying capacity against your previous standards. Remember to show yourself a little compassion, relax your high standards and pressure on yourself to be productive, and take regular breaks away from your work.
- Find an online community
For many, the biggest difference of working from home is the lack of social and emotional peer support. As social beings, it is fundamentally unnatural for us to spend any considerable amount of time away from our study pals. To compensate for this, consider joining and engaging with online communities that may offer a socially-distant source of support. For example, there are certain discipline-specific twitter hashtags and profiles that may help you to tap into a pool of likeminded students. Likewise, #AcademicChatter is a broader hashtag that will allow you to connect with other university students who are also working remotely.
We hope these tips will help you to establish a sense of normality, ease the pressure of remote working, and continue to connect and support one another.