This week our talented group of Campus Ambassadors (CAs) have been sharing their expert advice on how they are adapting to the strains and limitations of remote learning whilst at university. Here is what they had to say
We asked How do you stay motivated and focused when studying remotely?
Seven key themes arose from this question, but creating a schedule was the most prevalent view. Here is the breakdown
- Creating schedules, 40% found this approach most appealing,
- Focusing on long term goals, 20% found this approach most appealing,
- Exercise, 12% found this approach most appealing,
- Avoiding distractions, 12% found this approach most appealing,
- Setting short term goals, 12% found this approach most appealing,
- Taking breaks, 8% found this approach most appealing,
- Being motivated by the fear of failure, 8% found this approach most appealing,
Sage, Campus Ambassador at CCCU, captured these themes in her answer
“I have an A4 diary/agenda which I use to plan the week ahead into bite-sized and prioritised tasks. Writing lists really helps however you can soon have a list with 30 items on it so it helps to spread it out. I also put my deadlines in this agenda at the start of the semester so I can quickly flip through to find out which deadlines are approaching and therefore need to be prioritised. I make sure to get a change of scene, it can be hard to focus in the same area for too long. Make sure to eat as healthy as possible, keep hydrated, get out in the sun, do a bit of exercise even if it’s just a walk. All these things contribute to better mental health and wellbeing and will in turn increase your likelihood of feeling motivated. Talk to people and confide in trusted friends and family when you’re feeling stressed. Set personal boundaries because it can be easy to get caught up in helping others and never end up getting your own work done. Think about the purpose of your work, university makes it hard because there’s no instant reward or incentive to work hard throughout the week. To help, remind yourself why you are here and what you’re risking by not trying your best. A vision board might help to serve as a daily reminder, inspiration and push.”
Next, we wanted to know how students ward off ‘virtual fatigue’ or, better still, how they relax when suffering from it.
All suggestions included regular breaks from work, especially from electronic devices, and doing something different during that break. The types of activities ranged from gentle exercise i.e., yoga, walking, running, to cooking your favourite meal. Sometimes it is as easy as just talking with your flatmates and family. Most of these answers were echoed by our CAs respective universities too.
The overall advice here it seems is, if you can, experience a change of scenery throughout the day to mitigate against virtual fatigue. It gives you the opportunity to do something you enjoy, break up the day and creates an incentive to overcome a challenge your studies pose. Here is an insight into what our Campus Ambassador’s do in their allocated spare time.
- Do something you enjoy,
- Listen to music/podcasts/audiobooks,
- Engage in conversation with friends, family, and flatmates,
- Unplug and avoid electronic devices altogether,
- Stay hydrated,
- Break up studies into more manageable chunks.
Sophia, Campus Ambassador at Birmingham City, tells us “I take a break from the screen and take my dog for a walk in my local park, I find it helps me recharge and refresh to be able to carry on with my work later”.
Finally, wanting to sign off on a positive note we wanted to know what the advantages of remote learning were (if any).
Being true to form the students’ answers did not disappoint, their answers provided us with a wealth of knowledge from their recent experiences. Being as transparent as possible, a few students felt there were no advantages whatsoever which is completely understandable. During these unprecedented times we all find ourselves wishing to return to the normality of last year, but it is important to acknowledge that many elements of remote learning are beneficial and can improve your learning experience, for example you may
- Feel safer during current climate,
- Have more flexibility of your own schedule,
- Have better self-discipline,
- Improve your agility and versatility,
- Improve your time management
- Have more time to study rather than commuting,
- Be more in control and on top of studies – less anxious about topics,
- It is a comfortable learning environment uninhibited by conventional societal norms,
- You can learn at your own pace (relatively speaking),
- Recorded lectures enable easier accessibility and convenience.
Aysha, Campus Ambassador at the University of Bradford, told us ‘I'm quite happy that the lectures are now more accessible, they are recorded throughout, and we can watch them anytime we need to. I also like how it's easier to express concerns in lectures through the private chat box [referring to a video conference platform], it makes people feel more comfortable to ask questions. Before lockdown I spent a lot of time travelling to university by train which felt tiresome but now I feel I have more time to study because there's no need to travel.’
For further tips on how you can adjust to remote learning or working from home (WFH) why not have a look at our Instagram profile, or better still sign up to Careers Plus Hub whereby you can find plenty of ways to improve your employability skills in this most competitive of graduate markets.