Studying at home can be challenging, especially during a national lockdown.
• It’s easy to get side-tracked.
• You may be working on your own rather than with your friends.
• Your tutor isn’t in the room with you (though they will be available).
• You may be learning in new ways, such as through video calls, pre-recorded lessons, YouTube videos and home learning packages.
South & City College Birmingham students don’t need to worry. Our tutors will be using Moodle, Google Classroom and apps like Seesaw to set work, send links and provide feedback on your work. Some lecturers have set up forums so that you can ask questions and get quick answers.
But even with help in place, studying your college course from the confines of your home is a challenge. Follow these 10 top tips to help you tackle that challenge head on…
1. Create a working space
Tempting as it may be, your bed does not count as working space! Instead, try clearing off the kitchen table, working at a desk, or – if you don’t have access to those spaces – sitting upright on a chair or sofa. The important thing is to create a space that you associate with studying, where you can set out your laptop, text books and stationary. You should move away from this space when you take your breaks.
2. Limit your chance to procrastinate
Self-motivation is key when you’re studying at home. A big part of staying motivated is removing distractions and limiting the opportunity you have to procrastinate. Are you addicted to TikTok? Logout for the day. Does the TV distract you? Turn it off. Would you rather tidy your room than study? Work somewhere else. The less distractions the better.
3. Get dressed
Wear what you’d usually wear to college and get dressed at the start of the day. Hanging around in your PJs will only increase the chance of you lying on the sofa binging Netflix – rather than studying for your course!
4. Remember to take notes
Learning from outside the classroom can be a big change for students. Whether you’re watching a lesson online or video-calling into a live session, be sure to take plenty of notes. While it may seem easier to listen back later if you need to, you’ll save time in the long run by making clear notes.
5. Study with your course mates over WhatsApp, Hangouts or Skype
Online tools are there to use to your advantage when studying at home! You may already be using Skype, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp to share ideas and study with your college friends and course mates, and there’s no reason for this to change when you’re working from home. Video calls allow you to help each other with work set by your tutors and setting up a WhatsApp group lets you keep in touch, no matter where you are.
6. Go outside
You’ll get stressed out and fed up if you stay inside for days at a time. Remember that just because you’re studying at home, it doesn’t mean you have to be indoors 24/7. Walk to the park or the shops. Get some air. You’ll feel much better for it.
7. Eat properly and stay hydrated
Just as you should always stay hydrated and eat healthily while at college, the same applies at home. Your brain needs nutritious food and plenty of water to perform at its best. Why not keep a bottle of water next to you while you study? You’d be surprised how quickly it goes and how soon you need to top up.
8. Make the most of e-resources
There are tonnes of online resources out there. Google and YouTube are absolute goldmines for useful educational content, just as long as you check the information comes from a reliable source. For South & City College Birmingham students, your tutors will provide plenty of online resources to help you study from home. Familiarise yourself with the resources on offer and make the most of them.
9. Don’t multi-task – stay focussed
For most of us, multi-tasking is a part of modern day life. But it’s actually been proven to stop you being productive. While you’re studying for your college course at home, try to focus on one task at a time – don’t spread your attention across multiple classes or projects. Make sure you turn off distractions like your phone or TV. Set yourself a time limit, if needs be. And remember to…
10. Take regular breaks
It’s easy to find yourself stuck in the house when you’re living and studying there – and that can make you stressed. Try to do something off-screen when you take your break. Go for a walk… make some lunch… call a friend. Just avoid spending your break time sitting on social media or streaming TV shows.