How to stay motivated during distance learning
We get it, distance learning sucks. While it can be an appealing idea at first because you don’t have to commute and wake up early, it inevitably gets boring and tedious. And a huge let-down especially for freshmen who can’t experience real university life. How to stay motivated and not go crazy?
1. Follow a fixed timetable
It’s tempting to take things at your own pace but unless you follow some sort of fixed timetable for each subject, you’ll very soon fall behind with your studies. Even in online environment university teachers wait for nothing. They’ll keep posting assignments, study materials and lectures.
It might be very helpful to simply follow the original timetable. If your timetable says it’s Wednesday 9:30 which means Introductions to Philosophy, you should sit and study the subject even if the teacher isn’t streaming their lecture.
2. Create a dedicated study area
This is crucial. While you might have been okay studying in your parents’ living room at secondary school, good luck continuing with that at university. You need a place dedicated to studying. Get a proper desk, preferably with lots of storage space. It’s not that expensive really and you’ll use it at least for all those years of your studies.
The desk should be free from distractions and provide everything you might need at one place. It should accommodate your computer, ideally a printer (a black-and-white laser type is quite affordable), all your study materials and surplus of basic stationary so that you won’t run out of highlighters at the worst possible time.
A quality light source is a must. Get some good adjustable lamp with a pleasant light bulb. A comfortable chair is another must. If your back starts to hurt, forget about being productive. The rest is up to you, make it totally your style.
3. Do study sessions with your friends
Even if you can’t meet face to face in a local library or a coffee shop, you can still do study sessions with your classmates provided it’s something that motivates you. Get any platform you like that enables videocalls (I recommend Discord if you’re a bit geeky), create a group call and just start studying. Does it sound counterintuitive? Maybe, but co-working is definitely a thing. Google the term if it’s the first time you’ve heard about it and transform it into co-studying.
4. Get motivation from other people
YouTube can be just another distraction and potentially a source of procrastination (unless you use it only for ambient music to accompany your studying) but there’re tons of inspirational videos that can help you overcome your study block.
If you’re interested in improving your habits and getting some useful tips on how to study effectively, Thomas Frank’s channel is an excellent choice. For general inspiration and broadening your knowledge in other areas as well, you can search for the best TEDx Talks. It might be procrastination a little but it can also boost your motivation.
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5. Watch your diet, exercise and sleep schedule
It’s tempting to go to sleep very late, make excuses that you can’t exercise with gyms closed or eat junk food when you’re feeling unmotivated. But the poorer your habits are, the poorer your efficiency becomes which will eventually influence your study achievements. Even during the lockdown don’t forget to move your body, sleep a reasonable number of hours and eat healthily.
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