So… in case you’re out of the loop, we’re in Lockdown 3.0. Obviously, this isn’t ideal. Secondary and primary schools are closed until at least February, along with the few third level courses (like mine!) that hadn’t already been online since October. None of us want to be in this situation, but if it will save lives then we have to roll with it. I’ve settled quite well into online school, and so I thought I’d share a few of my tips on how I make online learning work for me:
Back to Basics
I know you’re probably sick and tired of hearing it, but I really can’t overstate how important it is to make sure you feed yourself, drink plenty of water, and get a good night’s sleep. I know it can be a pain, but it’s all about prioritising the basics. Always keep a bottle of water with you, follow a bedtime routine, and make sure to eat. Even if it’s just a piece of fruit and some crackers for breakfast, it’s better than nothing. And it’s impossible to learn well on an empty stomach.
Being organised is a skill, not a trait. So, good news if you’re not an organised person- you can become one! I think the most important thing to learn when you’re trying to become organised is to be realistic. If you set yourself a jam-packed timetable and a to-do list that’s a mile long, you’re only going to get disheartened when you can’t live up to your own expectations. For me, I’m a big fan of the app Notion to keep myself on top of things, but you might find physical calendars or bullet journaling suits you better. Becoming organised is a process, and it takes experimentation before you find what works for you!
We weren’t designed to sit in front of a screen for hours and hours at a time, so make sure to take regular breaks, even if it’s just to stretch and grab some water. In the Good Old Pre-Covid Days (remember those?), I used to scroll through Instagram on my study breaks, but in the world of online schooling, I’d recommend avoiding screens during your breaks to give your eyes a rest. Which leads me nicely onto my next point…
Take up a hobby!
In the first lockdown, I learned how to crochet, and it was honestly one of the best things I could have done for my mental health. It’s so beneficial to have a creative hobby that I can distract myself from the endless news cycle of doom with, plus I get a cute handmade item at the end of each project- all while giving myself a lovely break from technology! Now is an ideal time to try something new, whether it’s crochet, knitting, embroidery (can you tell I like crafts?!), a musical instrument, or something else entirely. If you’re not the creative type, you could read a book or walk your dog- whatever it takes to get you away from your desk!
Now is a hard time for everyone. I especially want to express my sympathy for the Leaving Cert class of 2021- I was in 6th year last year, so I completely understand the frustration and anxiety you’re going through right now. But every single person that’s reading this needs to remember that there is always someone there for you to reach out to. If you’re struggling with schoolwork, don’t be afraid to contact anyone in your school, be it a teacher, lecturer, principal, or guidance counsellor. And don’t be afraid to turn to your friends- they’re probably feeling just as lonely as you are, and anyway- that’s what friends are for! A good idea might be to set aside a specific time each week to call your friends- for example, my friends and I have set up a Discord server where we play Among Us and have the chats every Saturday night. A sense of routine is good for the brain, and that social interaction definitely helps me feel less isolated. Just remember- we’re all in this together!
We don’t know about you, but we’ll definitely be trying some of Aoife’s tips! Have you something you would like to share with the Shona community? Why not pop us over an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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