Mastering the Art of Remote Study
Study like a pro from home.
Studying from home may not feel like anything new now - we’ve all been doing some form of it for a little while now. Heading off to Uni, you may not know what to expect, especially if you’ve never sat in lectures or seminars before. Let us break it down for you:
Lectures are usually taught in a lecture theatre, with the majority of the people on your course. You are taught about a particular topic by a lecturer, usually with a powerpoint presentation. You want to be taking notes based on what the lecturer is saying (rather than just what is on the powerpoint).
Seminars are smaller groups with a few people on your course. Prior to the seminar, you’ll probably need to do some reading or researching, and the seminar is discussions of ideas based on this, guided by your lecturer.
It can seem a little overwhelming at first, but you’ll pick it up quickly.
The most important thing to remember is that you really should go to your lectures or seminars, even if they are online.
Wake up when you usually would
I know it is super tempting to wake up 5 minutes before the lecture is about to start, roll over, switch on your laptop and start learning, but you won’t be very productive or receptive to what the lecturer is saying. Get up when you normally would to head into Uni. Get dressed and ready, make a coffee or some breakfast and sit down with your laptop 5 minutes before, ready to take notes and really grasp what they are saying. You’ll be much more awake and productive!
Set up your work space
To be as productive as possible, it’s a good idea to have a “work space” - somewhere specifically set up for you to work. It should be at a table or desk with a chair, rather than your bed. It will help you get in the mindset of working. If you can have it separate from your 'relaxing' space - even better!
Coordinate group chats
Connect with your coursemates! You could set up a group message or meet outside of class to discuss notes, sharing ideas and analysing texts. It's a great way to stay productive.
It also allows you to keep in touch and get to know others in your classes, which maintains the social and collaborative aspect of your university classes so you don't feel too isolated when you're studying.
Keep in touch with your tutor and lecturers
You may not have met any of your tutors in person, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have any contact with them at all. They hold regular Office Hours where you can book in time to chat to them, or ask any questions about your study.
If you don't want to book in an online call, you could just email instead if you have general questions. You could ask for more reading, or questions about the reading list, slides and notes. They might take a little time to get back to you - they are as overwhelmed as you are at the moment!
You can also talk to them if you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. They are here to help and support you.
Ensure you have all the right tools to study
Make sure you have access to a well-functioning laptop or computer. You will also need an internet connection. If you don't have access to this, speak to your personal tutor or the University. They can discuss with you how this can be facilitated.
You might need some stationary (pens, notebooks etc) and a copy of the articles or books you are studying from. You can find some of these online, they may be provided or you might want to visit the University Library. You can check out Moodle or MyPort for any updates about classes and tools that the University is providing to help you.
Take regular breaks
It's the piece of advice you want to hear the most! Especially when you are studying in your living space. If a 9-5 schedule doesn't work for you, try something different - try to identify your most productive hours and utilise them! But don't forget to give yourself a break. You don't want to suffer from burnout! This will help keep your mind fresh and productive.
Step away from your screen every hour or so and allow yourself to focus on something else - read a chapter of a book, watch some TV or play a game.
Get a little bit of daily exercise - stretch your legs and go for a walk. You'll really feel the benefit. Treat yourself to little rewards to help you get through.
Something else that is really important is to switch off at the end off the day. Have a cut off point, and put everything away so your mind can really relax once you've finished.
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