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9 April, 2020

Keeping motivation and structure: A guide for students in remote class

Stay motivated, happy, and study smarter with these tips on remote learning for students stuck at home

Sure, it can be nice to study from home. It can be less stressful and more comfortable, but also, more distracting. You are close to the three biggest distractions for anyone doing work or studying from home: the bed (oh so comfy, maybe just one more quick nap), the TV (with Community is available on Netflix, maybe just one episode… or season), and the fridge (eating like a hobbit is brilliant, who doesn’t love second breakfast and elevenses). Also, you don’t want to get cabin fever. So how do you stay motivated, engaged and sane? We gathered a couple of tips that we hope you’ll find useful.

Get into routine

Every article, blog post and cheat sheet on the subject of home-based studying, or working for that matter, lists one important rule: routines. They will keep you productive, motivated and sane. Set time frames for when you have classes, when to do assignments, and when to rest your brain. Plan your time according to how a day, week or course might look. Keep in mind that we’re all different, some get their best work done early in the morning while others late in the evening. Find your rhythm and stick to it.

Prepare your battle stations

Make sure you try and set up a space for where you go to school at home. Get your digital classroom ready and have any material you need available. This will also help you stay organised and to keep your oh-so-important routine. Try to find a seat that won’t leave you aching after a couple of hours – but don’t forget to take a break and stretch your legs. Also, make sure to get rid of distractions, turn off notifications and make sure chores and fun stuff all have their allotted time in your routine. This way, when you study you can focus on just that.

Be smart

There’s this thing called ‘Active Studying’ and it can help you study smarter not harder as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill puts it in one of their study guides. Try and become the teacher. Before getting into a subject, start by asking what you’re about to learn. When studying, see how concepts can be symbolised and fit into a bigger picture, and figure out how you can find examples of what you’re learning about. And at the end, ask yourself if you understand what you just went through, if you can paraphrase it, what the big takeaways were, and what you need to learn to take the next steps. A good tip on getting started with a list of tasks is to get the biggest, most important or hairy one done first, the one that most likely will have you procrastinating. As Brian Tracy and Mark Twain put it: Eat the Frog.

Take care of yourself

To give yourself the best chance of success you also need to take care of yourself. Make sure you get good quality sleep at night. Try avoiding the screen close to bedtime keeping the same bedtime as consistently as possible so you can get at least 8 hours before the stay-at-home-school-day begins. Also, while you don’t want to keep going to the fridge every five minutes instead of studying, have some healthy snacks prepared to keep your stomach from growling and your brain from wandering. To let your brain rest and recharge, find some form of physical activity. Make sure you don’t violate any quarantine or disturb your neighbours with indoor crossfit sets There are literally a ton of videos for tips on great ways to workout at home.

With these tips we hope you get the most out of your online classes. Remember, these hold true even for when you’re back on campus or in your dorm. 

For tips on how others tackle working and studying from home, check out

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