I am really enjoying the move to blended learning, it’s nice to be able to work through study materials at my own pace and direct myself more. If I am reading through presentation slides and there is something that really interests me or something I don’t fully understand, I can go and research and come back to the presentation when I am ready. It has given me a lot more control and responsibility over my studies. My tutors have also been amazing with providing support over e-mail and through online meetings, so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. There were a few teething problems at first with getting used to new technology but now that everything is settled, I’m happy with my new study arrangements. As I prefer to do most of my studying at home anyway, with blended learning I’ve been spending even more time here, so I have made myself a little study nook to work in. It’s got everything I need to stay comfy and relaxed so I can be as productive as possible. :
My Five Top Tips for Studying Happy
This semester a lot different than other years and we’re all adapting to a new way of learning, blended learning, that combines online and in-person sessions. And it is fair to say that most of us will be spending a lot of time studying at home. So, for this unique Study Happy week, here are my top five tips for staying happy and motivated when working from home!
1. Keep your workspace separated from your recreational spaces
This might be harder for those in halls because your workspace is in your bedroom, but it’s not impossible. When I was in halls, I made sure that my desk was reserved for work and everywhere else was for chilling out. If you can’t allocate a specific space for studying, try to allocate somewhere, like your bed, for relaxing. I find that having designated areas for working and relaxing helps me switch my brain into the right mode. Trying to work in a place where you relax can make focusing harder and trying to relax in a study-zone can make switching off harder too. Finding ways to help you get into the right mindset is important and designating a specific study-space helps me with that a lot, so it’s the first thing I’d recommend for students to adopt now that a lot of us will be studying from home more frequently.
2. Try out a procrastination-beating browser extension
First thing I should mention is that you should always be careful when installing things to your computer and check reviews/ratings of browser extensions before you try them. But if you have trouble managing your time and avoiding distractions, like social media, there are plenty of browser extensions that might help. Most of them work by blocking or restricting your access to certain websites but there are lots of different ways they do this. Some will block all websites for a set amount of time or at a specific time, some let you block or restrict specific sites and some block everything except the ones you add to a whitelist. There’s a lot of variety and they can be a lot of help if you find it hard to concentrate when you’re working alone without anyone to chastise you for watching cat videos instead of finishing that essay!
3. Get in a group chat!
Most people benefit from sharing ideas and talking ideas through together. When you’re spending less time with peers it might seem like you’ll miss out on that, but you don’t have to. Think about joining a group chat or setting up a study group. BlackBoard Collaborate (available on the VLE) allows screen-sharing so you can go through presentation slides together and work with other people. It also allows video and audio chat as well as text chat so you can pick whatever is most comfortable for you. A group chat can recreate some of the environment and collaboration of seminars and working with friends in general can help with keeping motivated. If you’re a more social worker, this might be a good thing to try out!
My course requires a LOT of reading, and one of the ways I get it done even when I’m not feeling up to it is with audiobooks. I like to listen to an audiobook whilst reading a physical copy/e-book because I find that it keeps me focused. This has come in handy a lot with online learning because it helps me manage my time better (since most audiobooks will say how long they take to listen too) so you can plan your reading more effectively and get through books more efficiently.
5. Talk to your tutors and get support from UniSkills!
Less face-to-face time doesn’t have to mean less support. You can contact your tutors via e-mail if you need help or even ask to set up a virtual meeting if you need to discuss your studies at length. And don’t forget about UniSkills! Although the support we offer might look a little different this year, we’re still here to help! We’ve moved a lot of our support online and have introduced Webinars, online seminars, that provide guidance for all things academic. From referencing to finding online resources, we’re adapting to distancing so you can get the support you need from the comfort of your home to make this year a great one!
That’s it for now! Even though this year is shaping up to be a bit unique, there are ways to make adapting to this style of learning easier. I hope my tips gave you some ideas to try out that will help you Study Happy this year!