Realistically, 'back to school' or 'back to university' will look a little different this fall, due to the COVID19 pandemic — and we all have to do our best to adjust to the new reality. Likely some of your classes, if not all, will be online and you'll be studying from home. It's easy to blur the lines between 'studies' and 'personal life', and get distracted. Here are some tips to stay motivated:
1. Create a timetable
Plan ahead using a calendar and put together a study timetable to help you prioritize and keep on track — remember to schedule in breaks, meals and exercise. Keep a 'to do' list and tick off tasks as you go; this will keep you motivated and give you a feeling of satisfaction.
2. Take regular breaks
Keep your productivity high by taking lots of short breaks; stand up, stretch, walk around or open the window to get some fresh air. Check the Pomodoro method (25 minutes of concentration followed by a short 3-5 minute break) — there are some great apps for that.
3. Have a designated study zone
Whether it's the kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom, create an area for your studies. Choose somewhere quiet and free of distractions, and keep the space neat and tidy. If your 'study zone' is organized, it will help you feel more organized. If you have noise-cancelling headphones, these are great for tuning out distractions, and play music if it helps you focus.
4. Ask for help when you need it
Keep in touch with your lecturers, ask questions and ask for help if you're feeling like you're falling behind or you're having trouble getting motivated. It's also helpful for them to get feedback so they can tweak their online teaching if necessary.
5. Stay connected
These days, it's more important than ever to stay connected. There are a ton of video chat tools to help stay in touch — use these to engage with family and friends, as well as your classmates. Set up study groups to share tips, ideas, discuss assignments and generally share experiences.
6. Avoid multitasking
While you're studying, turn off phone notifications or put your phone on mute and put it to the side (preferably out of reach). Close any irrelevant web pages you have open to minimize distractions. If you're participating in an online lecture, actively take notes to help you engage and it will likely help you stay focused.
7. Take care of yourself
Sleep well, schedule time for exercise (even if it's just a walk around the block), and eat healthfully. It's easy to snack when you're at home most of the day, so prepare healthy snacks and have them at hand to avoid frequent trips to the kitchen.
8. Stay positive
It's easy to feel frustrated and feel like our lives are 'on hold'. However, it's important to remind ourselves that 'this too shall pass'. Appreciate the small stuff, practice mindfulness (again, there are great apps out there — Medito, Headspace, Calm), and be kind to yourself and others.
If you're planning ahead for your next step in education, or for travel options (ever considered working abroad after graduation?), visit the free Study and Go Abroad Virtual Fair on September 24. The event offers a unique opportunity to meet with universities and colleges from Canada and from around the world, as well as student travel and gap year specialists.
Check out the Study and Go Abroad Fair