I found myself less motivated for the beginning of this semester as it starts online. Online learning can come with many comforts such as staying in your pajamas, the ability to lay in bed during lectures, and being in the comfort of your own home, but I’ve found that there are often many difficulties too. The lack of accountability and abundance of distractions available while learning online particularly impacts my motivation and productivity for school. I know that many people are less than excited about the current situation regarding online learning, and everyone is facing different challenges and struggles during this time, but I hope that by sharing some of the strategies I use when navigating online learning I can help in some way.
The first strategy I find to be extremely important with online learning is waking up and being alert before lectures/studying. I tend to not comprehend or focus very well when I have just woken up, so waking up just before a lecture and laying in bed listening to it has been something I had to cut out. I find that giving myself time to go for a quick walk or even just make a yummy breakfast makes sure that I am awake and ready to learn.
The space in which I choose to work is also very important to me. I must have a clean and quiet space to limit the distractions around me. If I work in a messy space I somehow always find a reason to stop doing school work and organize it, which makes me more distracted and leads to other tasks grabbing my attention.
I find that I usually get hungry during long lectures or study sessions which can make it impossible to focus. I like to prepare for this beforehand and have everything I need before I start doing school work. For me, this usually means having a prepared snack close by, a water bottle, wearing comfortable clothes, and either a pair of fuzzy socks or slippers because my feet are constantly cold.
Reminding myself to be kind when I do get distracted or don’t achieve my goals is also important. Going from in-person back to online classes is another unexpected transition for students and it’s okay to not be the perfect student all the time (or any of the time). Taking breaks and implementing self-care into my routine is just as important as doing work. I find that I am much more productive and positive about my workload when I take adequate breaks during the day rather than trying to get everything done all at once.
In addition to self-care and breaks from school making your mental health a priority is also important. A strategy I find that helps me remember to check in with myself and make my well-being a priority is having an accountability buddy. For myself, this means checking in with a friend who I am comfortable talking to and sharing with, and in return being a person they can count on that will listen to any concerns or problems they may be facing. I find this to be very effective, but it’s important to ensure that if you take this approach that whoever you want to talk to has the time, energy, and is emotionally available to listen. Sometimes when we are tired or overwhelmed we lack the empathy and ability to listen to others’ problems, so it’s important to not just unload your worries and respect other boundaries before doing so. An additional resource provided by UVSS that I would recommend is the Peer Support Centre. The Peer Support Centre is a space for students to talk to trained volunteers both in-person and online providing a listening ear, non-judgmental advice, and emphatic support for any of their needs or concerns.
If you’re interested in more information about the Peer Support Centre you can find out more here.
I hope some of these strategies help with your online learning and ease the stress of semester two starting up.
All the best,
The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.