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How to study effectively online

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In the midst of the craziness of 2020 and the spread of Covid-19, almost every single university across the UK has moved to online teaching, with only a small amount of time each week dedicated to face-to-face teaching (all socially distanced of course).  

While studying online does have its advantages such as being able to stay in your comfy clothes all day and being able to save your student loan, it can also present some problems, such as internet connection issues, distractions and lack of motivation. Being back in your student accommodation without being able to attend university as freely as you once did can leave you feeling disconnected from the university life. So, we’ve put together some tips on how you can study effectively online.  

Plan Your Day 

Having some kind of schedule or timetable to follow whilst working is a crucial element to having a productive day. Take a look at your lectures for the week ahead and plan a schedule around them, factoring in dedicated study sessions, breaks, social time and even meal planning/prepping. Having a solid routine is vital for making your year as successful as possible given the circumstances. During your study times make sure you are 100% focused and work solidly on the task at hand without reaching for your phone or the remote! 

Although it may be tempting to turn your alarm off, have a lie-in and tell yourself you’ll catch up later, we all know that won’t be the case and the next thing you know you’ll be up until 2am binge-watching an entire season on Netflix. It’s important that you get enough sleep in order to get up early and get dressed, ready to take on the day. We understand that some people are more proactive in the evening, and that’s ok too, just make sure you still have dedicated times set aside and remember to remove any distractions and get enough sleep the night before! 

Studying online 

Motivation is key for studying, especially when it’s studying online. Staring at the same screen all day cannot only leave you demotivated but can also make you lose focus. That’s why it’s important to take regular breaks away from your screen in-between your lectures. Some people can study for 2 hours at a time, some for 40 minutes, so take your studies at your own pace. Make the most of your online lectures. Try not to zone out and make sure you make notes. If you’re taking part in an online seminar or lecture, try switching your camera on. We know this isn’t the approach many of you may choose to take but it can actually help to keep you focused and engaged in the online lesson. In addition to this, make sure you regularly check on your student emails, the SU and the university will be sending regular emails to keep you updated on teaching, events, campaigns and much more.

It’s helpful to try and look at online studying as a positive thing to help keep you motivated. If you think about it, there are so many more advantages, you have all your resources online, you can pause pre-recorded lectures if you need to take a break and it saves you travelling to and from university every day, especially If you only have one lecture that day. 

If you find yourself struggling with certain aspects of your work and have no idea how to approach it, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your lecturer and ask for help.  Just like you would pop into their office if you were on campus – they are here to help and support you so always ask if you need help. You can also receive academic support and guidance if needed from the universities Learner Support. 

Keep on top of your deadlines! It’s so important that you stay organised – go through all your deadlines for the year and note them down and hang them somewhere either in your room or work area. This will serve as a reminder and avoid deadlines creeping up on you! 

Protecting your well being 

University life can be challenging as it is, let alone in the current climate, so it’s important to look after your mental and physical health and surround yourself with a strong support network. Try to make time during your working schedule for exercise, fresh air and ‘You’ time. There are loads of country footpaths you can use to go for a walk or run, you can use the HASU gym facilities on campus and you can even try meditation. 

Facetime your friends and family from home if you’re feeling low or spend time with your new friends! You’re all in the same boat after all. If you need any further advice or need any questions answering on how to study online, get in touch with Student Services on studentservices@harper-adams.ac.uk. 

Getting involved with the university at a distance 

One of the best ways to stay connected to university is by joining a club or society. All of our clubs and societies have worked hard to make sure there are new and exciting ways for you to get involved in a safe and secure environment. There are amazing clubs and societies you can join from the Hockey and Polo clubs to the Gaming and veterinary societies. Check out all the clubs and societies we have to offer here.

You can also get involved with the student union elections. Run to be a member of the SU Executive team and represent all cohorts, courses and groups across the university. Our Executive Committee meets at least once a month and produces a policy which is created from issues affecting students. These can be to do with your student life, your university and your union. Our Committee works together to run campaigns to change things for the better of your student experience and the SU community to create awareness about issues which matter to YOU. Read more about how you can get involved here. 

If you would like careers advice or support click here. The Careers Service can provide you with helpful CV and cover letter tips, support you in finding placements, graduate schemes, part-time jobs and even employment after graduation.  

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