Many of our students have started their studies online here in Zimbabwe with institutions overseas. Here are some tips to help you effectively study from home.
Get dressed as usual
It is rather difficult to be productive whilst buried under your duvet, neither does slouching around in your pyjamas help. Get up and get dressed as you typically would to go on campus.
Establish a suitable study area
The first step to smarter studying at home is creating the perfect studying environment. Ensure your study area is quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. Gather everything you are going to need; laptop, chargers, pens, notebook, and a glass of water. If you are not required to use your phone, try switching it off to lessen distractions.
Set yourself goals
Set yourself daily and weekly goals, that are achievable, to maximise your productivity. This could be ticking off various tasks in a day or reaching a set word count on an assignment by the end of the week. Additionally, try to make use of an academic planner to keep track of your assignments, tests and deadlines.
Effective time management is a very important skill to master while at university, and the best way is to establish a routine and stick to it. Virtual lectures and tutorials will likely be at scheduled times, yet studying from home allows you the flexibility to work around those hours.
If you're unsure how many hours you should be putting in, typically most universities work on a 40-hour week schedule, which is the same as the working world. Thus one unit should take up approximately ten hours’ study time per week, which includes viewing lectures, reading the supplied material, attending tutorials and researching for assignments – manage your schedule accordingly.
Take a break
Your brain can only take in a certain amount of information at a time. If you do not take regular breaks, you will most likely find it difficult to memorise all the information. It is generally recommended that for every hour that you study, you should take at least a 15 minute break. In that time, do something that takes your mind away from studying, such as going for a walk, listening to some music, sitting out in the sun or chatting with a friend.
Give yourself little rewards after you have successfully completed tasks, because having something to work towards is always a fantastic motivator. Maybe it is having your favourite snack or playing a computer game. Find whatever works for you as motivation and to help you avoid distractions like social media and Netflix. Note that the key words are 'successfully completed' and not a moment before!
Seek help if you need it
Students are having to adjust the way they study due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Take comfort from that fact they everyone is in the same boat. However, if you're struggling to adapt to this new way of studying, there is support out there. Make sure you also check in with your loved ones for support. Check your university website for contact details about the student support, health and wellbeing services too.
While you're studying at home, it is vital that you regularly check in with tutors and lecturers, and do not be afraid to ask for clarification if there is anything that you don't understand. Here at MES, we also have an student support Whatsapp group for those who have started online this semester, so that the students may ask their peers questions and advice. We are also more than happy to be contacted with any questions or concerns about your course.
Good luck with your studies!