Studying in isolation: Tips from a distance student

Online student catching up on some study

As we are all aware, the COVID-19 epidemic has brought and continues to bring global, local and personal disruption to the model of existence we are all accustomed to.

Thankfully, as a distance student, this aspect of my life has remained largely unaffected. I am aware however that many on-campus students are now facing a potentially alienating alternate study reality and may need a moment to find their virtual feet.

Here are a few simple tips for keeping on track while studying in isolation:

Find Comfort

If you don’t have a clean, comfortable area that includes personal space, an abundance of quiet, an agreeable temperature and easy access to power points, WiFi, light or anything else you might need, then focusing on your study can become arduous. The aim is to minimise distraction – an excuse you don’t need when trying to self-motivate.

Create a schedule

It’s easy to fall behind. Since classes, workshops and lectures are no longer there to keep you in check, you will need to do it yourself. My method is to create a printable calendar with all upcoming assessment dates already filled in. I pin it to my bulletin board and each week fill in tasks to complete each day. It’s basic but it helps. And of course, if you prefer a digital version, go for it.

Take Breaks

This is a hard one for me as I can be a tad relentless when working through modules. But your brain needs a refresher and your body needs to move, so get up, grab a snack and wander.

Call a friend

Studying in isolation is, well, isolating. There are times when I go a whole day without saying a word and worry I’m going to forget how to do it. Find a go-to pal who patiently lets you yammer on about your hectic study schedule and in return, find out what achievements they got on the PlayStation or whatever.

Exercise

Sitting around studying all day while having easy access to a fridge isn’t the best scenario for your health. Set time aside for some endorphin releasing vigour. As the gym is no longer an option, take a walk, jog, get stuck into a fitness app or try one of the many YouTube channels that offer free workout videos.

Sleep

Believe it or not, this is another hard one. I can get very caught up in completing homework and assessments and the time just flies. If you don’t have any pressing deadlines, set yourself a study limit. In addition, make sure you’re catching good quality Zzz’s, as without them your health and capacity to continue studying effectively will suffer.

I really hope these tips have been helpful and your transition to online study is smooth. I absolutely love studying online and, who knows, you might find you love it too! CSU is one of the top online universities in Australia, so in times such as these, you couldn’t be in safer hands.