Schools are back, exams are cancelled, and the UK government have a roadmap for exiting lockdown; everything is getting back to normal, isn’t it?
Well, yes, but not for everyone. The newly announced plans for re-opening education settings in England didn’t mention universities. So, although schoolchildren can return to the classroom on 8th March, university students will continue to learn remotely. What’s more, the university exam season is going ahead, and dissertation submission deadlines are looming too.
After months of isolation and remote learning, it’s natural for students to experience zoom-fatigue. The easing of restrictions means that the chance to resume your social life is tantalisingly close. which makes the prospect of more online learning even more onerous. However, these new freedoms come at a key point in the academic calendar, with dissertation deadlines and the university exam season fast approaching. The world may be re-opening, but the pressure for university students remains very much on. The work you do over the next few weeks will make all the difference to your final grades.
So how can you stay motivated for remote learning when the wolrd around you is reawakening? In this article, we discuss 5 ways to keep your studies on-track, whilst also making time for some self-care.
Clean and declutter.
It’s no coincidence that student’s rooms are never cleaner than when they have a deadline! Cleaning is well-known as a work-avoidance tactic, but a bit of cleaning and de-cluttering is no bad thing. We don’t mean re-paint the house and empty the attic but tidying your work area and giving it a thorough wipe-down can help you study. If your workspace is neat, clean, and comfortable, you’ll be more relaxed and less distracted, so you’ll learn more efficiently. Plus, you’ll feel as though you’ve achieved something, which can give you an important boost on those days where studying feels like an uphill struggle.
Write a study timetable and stick to it.
Study timetables are essential for any student. They help you keep track of deadlines, so you get work done in good time, and they allow you to plan your revision and make sure you’re well-prepared for whatever the test papers throw at you. Having a plan puts you in control of your learning and can be useful for those times when you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you need to do.
So, write a study timetable and stick to it, especially as your social calendar starts to fill up again (more of that later).
Identify your best learning time.
“One hour of 7pm is not the same as one hour of 7am”.
– Dr Salah Sharief, Wordsmiths Director.
Those are wise words from our director (and no, he didn’t pay us to say that), but what do they mean? Quite simply, there will be times of day when you learn more effectively, and times when you don’t.
In Dr Sharief’s case, his most productive study time is the early morning, but that won’t be true for everyone. For example, our Creative Content Editor prefers to use mornings for physical and practical tasks (such as exercise and cleaning) before settling down to work in the afternoon when she’s more focussed. You will achieve far more if you study when your focus is highest, so identify when those times are, and plan your study timetable accordingly.
Stretch and move.
The lockdown has drastically increased the amount of time we spend staring at screens, and there are health costs to this shift. Extended periods spent staring at digital devices can cause eye problems, while a recent survey found that 89% of remote workers report musculoskeletal pain. If you spend a lot of time hunched over your laptop, it’s vital that you take regular movement breaks. Being active is important for learning too – research has shown that exercise can improve various cognitive functions such as memory and attention.
Now if you’re not an exercise junkie, don’t worry – this doesn’t mean you need to do vigorous exercise. A gentle walk and some simple stretches will help keep the aches and pains at bay, and keep your brain primed for effective studying.
Plan something nice.
With key deadlines and exams approaching, life can feel stressful for university students. That’s especially true if you’re spending most of the day stuck in your room alone. Much as it’s important to stay on-task with your learning, treating yourself matters too. So, plan something nice – meet a friend for a walk, go get a takeout coffee (and maybe a cake, we’re not judging). Planning a treat has the double benefit of lifting your spirits whilst also making it easier to stick to your study timetable -it’s easier to say no to spontaneous invites if you’ve already got social plans booked in.
Wordsmiths is a UK-based editing company that provides proofreading and copyediting services to publishers, media groups, and academic researchers. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive more of our studying and writing tips – you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.