Living, learning and working in isolation has brought about new lessons, certain freedoms and a number of challenges to the way we do things. We’re finding that what we took for granted – close contact with fellow students and teachers and a rigid and monitored timetable – actually contribute positively to our learning experiences. There is something to be said for sharing study spaces with other like-minded individuals who are experiencing similar things to us. That hasn’t completely disappeared, but it has dramatically changed for now.
Change your mindset and habits
One of the challenges with the temporary shift to a distance learning model is adapting your way of thinking about the disciplines of the classroom and bringing some of those routines and expectations into your home environment. This starts with a change of mindset and behaviours. Home has become the centre for all activities. Prioritizing your time will be based on self-determination and discipline.
It is important to leave some time for yourself between waking up and getting started with your work. That buffer zone to mentally prepare for concentrating and learning is needed. You now need to intentionally prepare your mind. Having a routine, some time to quietly gather your thoughts and a set structure for the day will help you build a learning and working pattern. This is similar to how you prepare for exams but may have less of a sense of urgency. It is just as crucial though, so make the effort to put a plan in place for getting through your work.
When you are living in a house with many distractions, it’s a big challenge to get into the headspace for a demanding day of school work. There may be younger relatives playing and making a noise, parents working from home and doing chores, dogs barking and noises outside. It is especially important then to mentally prepare for work mode and find ways to concentrate through the disruptions. This could be working with background music to block out ambient noise, finding a spot out of the high traffic zones or just going with the flow and accepting the background noise as part of your study routine. For now, you will be the one solely responsible for your participation in and contribution to your academics. This, above all, takes discipline and tenacity because you know you are working towards your own goals.
Build a routine
To support your self-disciplined approach, follow a daily schedule. Ticking things off as complete on your to-do-list tracks your progress and can be really motivating. Remember to take short breaks between subjects to allow some time for your brain, eyes, and ears to relax. Stay hydrated with water and move around, even do short bursts of exercises so that your body doesn’t become fatigued. Ever notice how lying down or staying seated for hours actually makes you tired? Doing your studies this way is preparing you for the new working world as many companies practice flexible work arrangements. It’s become the norm in corporate businesses and amongst entrepreneurs to work remotely and not necessarily be based at an office full-time.
While practicing social distancing continue interactions with classmates, friends, and mentors, just do it digitally. Consider starting a WhatsApp study group. Sharing experiences with contemporaries alleviates stress and goodness knows there’s been a lot of tension going around with everybody confined to very close quarters. In an upcoming post, we’ll talk about using social media to not only maintain recreational social relationships but as platforms for connecting with fellow students, working in groups, and hosting discussions. Stay strong and stay motivated!