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Studying in times of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. Here's what you can do to find motivation and take care of yourself in these difficult times. 

Written by Simone E. |

Open book, pen and laptop
"Remember that studying always comes with challenges. Part of the learning experience is how you deal with them".

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus has turned our world upside down. Wherever you are right now, you’re likely experiencing the consequences of this global pandemic. Perhaps you are working from home, taking care of family members and housemates, or even home-schooling children whilst trying to keep the household running. During this time of uncertainty, I have found it hard to continue studying at all. Yet while these worries and anxieties can sometimes seem insurmountable, there is one thing I know for sure: we are all in this together. Even locked inside our homes, dispersed across the world, we are linked to each other more closely than ever before.

If you are struggling, like me, with finding study motivation, here is my advice:

Be kind to others, and most of all, be kind to yourself

Self-care is key here: find ways to be kind to yourself and those around you every day. Make yourself your favourite cup of tea, sign up for an online yoga class and stay in touch with friends through video calls. Prepare healthy meals and maintain a regular sleeping routine. Treat yourself to extra-long showers or read that book you’ve always wanted to.

Prioritise what is most important right now: the physical and mental health of you and your loved ones.

Remember that the most important thing, at the end of the day, is not whether you manage to revise that extra article or cram another chapter. Make health your top priority, not just physically but also your mental wellbeing. Keep a journal or talk to loved ones regularly, to express your feelings and thoughts. Remind yourself that you cannot do more than your best.

Know that the University of London is one of the education institutions worldwide that is best equipped to provide you with high-quality education online

We are lucky to be students at a University that specialises itself in providing world-class education online. Make use of all the digital resources out there, such as the Online Library and the VLE.

Don’t set your expectations too high. Instead, be realistic and aim for consistency.

Don’t try to keep the same level of productivity as before the crisis started. Developing new habits takes time. Don’t get angry with yourself if these transitions take longer than you want them to. We are all juggling many different things at once, and feelings of fear or frustration are completely understandable under the current circumstances.

Take time each day to stay in touch with your studies and give yourself space to ease into a new routine

Find ways of motivating yourself. Look over old notes and previously revised materials, or find related video-lectures online, to reignite your interest. Try to set aside some time each day to do so, organise a corner of your house that can be dedicated to studying.

Take this time as an opportunity to connect to fellow students online

This is the perfect chance to boost your online learning by organising video chats with peers and holding virtual study sessions together. Prepare for your exams by getting feedback from other students, starting new WhatsApp groups for motivation and generally helping each other out. Also, be sure to check out the Online Student Societies, via the Student Portal (Support and Development tab).

Think about how the current situation relates to your field of study 

Whatever you study, from politics to law, health, sociology, every discipline offers an angle to analyse responses from world leaders to the coronavirus crisis, new global policies, impacts on international markets, or social impacts. You could consider writing about this in your exams. Doing so shows your ability to think creatively, while applying theory to a timely issue.

Remember that studying always comes with challenges. Part of the learning experience is how you deal with them. As we continue to prepare for exams,you will overcome this hurdle too. Think of it as an opportunity to renew your dedication to your studies and your personal goals.

Be your own biggest cheerleader and praise yourself for every accomplishment, however small, until you’re blushing with pride.

You’ve got this!

Simone studied the BSc in International Relations via distance learning in the Netherlands. 

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