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Tips for Studying from Home that Might Actually Help

Since the first Lockdown of spring and summer, it seems that everyone and their mother has suddenly become the experts in working from home. While I definitely don’t claim to be an expert, these tips have worked for me and my flatmates as we navigate our final year of University in a global pandemic.  

 

#1 Don’t Micromanage  

 At the start of lockdown, I genuinely don’t know how many times I read articles or saw people telling others that Lockdown, and working from home, was an excellent way to get ~organised~ and ~motivated~. So many people I know began to micromanage every second of their lives, filling their days with endless activities, and most had given up on these elaborate plans by day three. 

Don’t get me wrong, I think having goals and deadlines to work on has kept me sane these past few months, but I would urge you to resist the temptation to fill days indoors with constant activities and to-do lists, and instead focus on the things that you have to do, or the things you are genuinely passionate about.  

To combat the intense need on a Sunday night to plan the entire week ahead in excruciating detail, myself and my flatmates have chosen pick a morning and evening activity that we NEED to get done, and then anything else we decide to do is simply a bonus we can reward ourselves with wine for completing.  

Make sure you are meeting your deadlines, and continuing with your classes, but don’t stress about fitting sourdough break making, or learning six new languages into your schedule unless you REALLY want to – take it easy! We’re in a pandemic!  

 

#2 Eat! Drink water!  Regularly!  

I’ll admit, this seems pretty simple advice, but I can’t count the times I’ve sat at my dining room table for 3 hours without grabbing my water bottle or eating my breakfast. Being successful in academia is a struggle enough, let alone also worrying about protecting yourself and others from a fatal virus. Therefore, ensuring you’re getting the basics of 5 fruits and veg, and at least 8 glasses of water a day is something we should all be striving for.  

Yes, ensuring you have a study space that is clean and productive (as well as aesthetic), as well as keeping up socially with your peers via zoom is important, but when we take care of ourselves on this basic level, we give ourselves the best chance of performing well at university despite the horrible circumstances we find ourselves in.  

 

#3 Get your Spotify Playlists sorted  

I cannot tell you the love I have for my multiple study playlists. I have one for days where I have loads of motivation, one for when I have none, a playlist for when my brain can handle lyrics and Foucault readings simultaneously, and another where only classical music resides.  

Work out what works best for you and your brain and use them! Studying is not the same every day, and you need different stimuli depending on how you are feeling, so I would recommend having a few different sources of music that you can use to keep you motivated throughout your day.  

Plus, there is no better study break than dancing to One Direction in your cosy socks in the living room.  

#4 Feel your emotions  

We are witnessing a global crisis of a level 99% of the population have never faced before, and my dissertation supervisor wants me to hand in work? 10,000 words? Unbelievable.  

It is easy to try to push through feelings of fear, anxiety and being overwhelmed in an attempt to push through your studies, however I would urge everyone to really take stock of their emotions and work out exactly how they are feeling.  

We are living in panic inducing times, and I for one think I have cried over university more in the last few months than I have in the last four years, but I also don’t see such emotions in a negative light. Its completely normal to be stressed over university, and coupled with COVID 19 I truly believe there is no shame in not coping in the way you would like.  

Keeping in touch with your emotions, and allowing yourself time to decompress and really recognise your achievement of literally not dying is enough, any university work done in the midst of that is a triumph.  

 

#5 Lean on your support systems if you need too  

Linked to my last point, if you need help with anything, whether university or mental health work related, reach out as much as possible. Despite what it may look like, the university has a duty of care to protect its students, and there are services available to you if you need them. The university counselling service, Nightline, and your Personal Tutors are all avenues in which you can ask for help and advice.  

Similarly, if you can, take full use of your lecturers and the different caveats given to you as a student. Email lecturers for advice, ask for their opinion on essays drafts, or even skip a class (fill out the absentee form though!) if you feel as though it will help your studies and mental health overall.  

Support systems are not just found on (virtual) campus however, they extend out to your family and friends, the people you live with, and the people you Netflix Party with every week. Before Miss Corona decided to ruin all of our lives, I was often reluctant to reach out to friends or family, however now I am more than happy to walk into my living room with tears in my eyes after another mini panic about Post Grad application.  

No one expects you to be an A1 pupil with an exemplary mental health record in a pandemic (trust me) so don’t feel afraid to reach out to those around you when things don’t want to work out for you. 

 

If you are struggling with your mental health please reach out to one of these organisations:  

 

-Student Support: Top Floor of the Student Union, 9am-4:30pm. Tel: 01224 273935 

-Aberdeen University Counselling Service: counselling@abdn.ac.uk  Tel: +44 (0)1224 272139 

-Night Line: http://aberdeen.nightline.ac.uk/nightline@abdn.ac.uk Tel: 01224 27 28 29 

 

Other resources: 

-Breathing Space: https://breathingspace.scot  Tel: 0800 83 85 87 

-Samaritans: www.samaritans.org  Tel: 116 124 

-Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH): www.samh.org.uk  Tel: 0141 530 1000 

-Penumbra: www.penumbra.org.uk  Tel: 0131 475 2380 

-MIND: www.mind.org.uk 

Iona Hancock

Aberdeen '22

PGDE Primary 21/22 @ Aberdeen 1st Class Honours in Politics and IR @ Aberdeen
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