Charvia Kyazze on studying and staying motivated during a pandemic

For many students, the pressure of University alone is enough. However, with lockdown being implemented this only has only intensified. From not being able to meet up with friends, moving out of shared housing and the closure of campus, I knew I was about to face a drastic change.

Like many people, my anxiety increased and as someone that loves routine and normality, I honestly did not know what to do with myself in the first month of the pandemic. There is no real good advice as to what works best with studying as everyone works differently but I wanted to share what has worked for me. Over the course of lockdown, I was able to come up with 5 factors that got me get through.

  1. Take time
    It’s very easy for us as humans to react irrationally in these situations or to even overwork ourselves out of fear. But, the best thing I did was to put my studies off for a week and use that week to collect my thoughts and really understand what was happening. Through this I was able to manage my anxiety as well give myself much needed me time, which before the pandemic I barely did.
  2. Routine
    As I stated before I love having a strict routine/schedule when it comes to studying. This unfortunately became difficult to stick to once lockdown was introduced, so I knew I had to create a new one that will fit with this change. I was now moving back home with my mum which meant that my usual routine would not work. In my new routine, I had to make sure I made time for myself, my studying, as well as my family which at first was overwhelming since there’s only 24 hours in a day, and I am only one person. However, doing small things such as waking up earlier and organising myself the night before on what content I will cover the next day meant I was able to do this efficiently without feeling burnt out.
  3. Breaks
    It’s very easy for us as students to get really immersed in the world of studying, especially in lockdown where every form of studying is taking place in the same room due to all the lectures being online. As a result of this, in the first few weeks I did my find myself forgetting to take efficient breaks after my online lectures and seminars, this led to the quality of my work going down as well as my overall motivation, due to not really taking in the content I was studying. Therefore, I made sure to add frequent breaks to my day not only for my mental health, but also for the quality of my work.
  4. Setting goals
    Having something to work towards is always helpful, not only is it motivating, it also helps you to avoid distractions such as social media or netflix as it becomes difficult to relax when you’ve got a to-do list waiting for you. For this method to be effective, make sure that they are achievable. This could be ticking off three or four tasks in a day or reaching a certain word count on an assignment by the end of week. By doing this, you will find yourself slowly becoming more and more productive.
  5. You’re not alone
    Whilst you’re studying at home, it’s important to keep in touch with others. Regularly checking in with your friends and family who are in the same boat can help you get through these times by discussing lectures, assignments and seminar tasks. Socialising is a big part of the whole university experience, so using social media to my advantage was important to me during the lockdown period, whether that be phone calls, whatsapp group chats, facetime calls or zoom, all of them became useful.

There’s no clear timeline on when things will return to normal, and when going through a situation like this, it’s very easy to focus on the negatives. But, there are plenty of positives to studying home, such as being able to study at your own pace and flexible hours.

Overall, despite it being a massive change to my life, lockdown was a good time for me to learn a lot more about myself as well as choose a study routine that works better for me, it may not be easy at first but with consistency you’ll eventually be able to find one that’s best catered for you.

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