by Nana Kobidze, MA student in the Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology
Student life during the pandemic isn’t ideal and online learning turned out to be challenging for many of us. However, in this blog post, I would like to focus on the positive side of online classes and offer some tips on how to use the current situation to our advantage. Now, as we’re in the final phase of the fall semester, I would like to share my own experience of surviving my studies during the pandemic and suggest three main strategies on how to make the process more productive and enjoyable.
Strategy N1. Managing the Workload. Considering the heavy workload during the semester, I understood that it’s important to keep track of the tasks and deadlines and to organize them as early as possible. Course syllabi will be your best friends in completing this mission – check the amount of work you have to do throughout the week for a specific course and plan your weekly tasks in advance. This will help you manage time better, get ahead of the assignments and avoid stress caused by upcoming deadlines. This tip can be relevant for offline classes as well, but I think it’s crucial to follow this strategy during online studying, as it requires more self-discipline. The journey isn’t easy, but at the end you develop new skills, which will help you in the future.
Strategy N2: Physical and Mental Health Are Important. Even though I was following the first strategy to manage my time better and avoid anxiety, I still felt like I had to work all the time, even on the weekends. I found out that this was something others were struggling with as well – feeling guilty while trying to relax for a day, or even for a couple of hours! This feeling of guilt sometimes takes more energy out of us than the work itself. I think the main challenge with online studying is that there are no external factors to set boundaries between work and leisure. This means that under regular circumstances, students would take their time to chat with friends on the campus, take walks, enjoy Friday nights out and the weekends. These natural factors would refresh our minds and take our minds off of our work. Now, as everything is limited to our rooms, we have to think of our own healthy distractions and not feel guilty about it. Doing some kind of physical exercise and talking to our loved ones are things that can help us perform better and find joy during hard times.
Strategy N3. Limit Your Screen Time. Impossible as it sounds, I recently realized that I’m constantly exposed to the monitor, which feeds the vicious circle: after finishing my classes and putting my laptop away, I grab my phone and chat with friends or scroll through social media; then I go back to my laptop to do tasks. While handling the workload and getting enough social interaction is crucial, it’s also equally important to spend time away from the screen. I would suggest going for a walk, reading a book, drawing or just listening to music.
I hope these tips will be helpful for anyone adapting to this new mode of life and do keep in mind that better days are coming.