The digital degree of your dreams: an approach to online learning

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By Maddi Lane, Second Year, English

The Croft Magazine // Online learning has forced us all to alter our study habits – but it can be hard to adapt to the loss of structure that a day at university provides. Here are some ideas to help with the change.

It is well known, by children and adults alike, that sometimes you only want something when you can’t have it. For me, being able to go into uni is one of those things.

The ten minute walk up St Michael’s Hill, attempting to unsuccessfully maintain conversation with your flatmate while simultaneously gasping for breath; the daily catwalk around the ASS showing off your stylishly recycled charity shop outfit (bar the £200 buffalos, of course); the apology for being late at the door of a room full of strangers who are definitely not in your seminar; these are all joyous pastimes UoB members around the nation are missing greatly.

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However, with deadlines unaffected by the ‘rona, uni work – without all the perks of actual uni - must go on.

If you are the type of person to leave all your work to the last minute and instead fill your days with the extremely productive and rewarding practice of scrolling through TikToks (in which case, can’t relate – I’m a retail therapy addict through and through), then keep reading for the organisation advice that will save your life – and your degree.

Make a plan

You can kiss your dreams of a 2:1 goodbye if you don’t plan your time effectively. Everyone and everyone’s dad has told you before: fail to plan, plan to fail. So make a plan – and stick to it.

My timetable might look something like this:

Included at the end of the article is a blank copy of this timetable to make sure that I stay sane during exam season – you can either print a number of copies out and fill them in week by week, or save the timetable on your computer, filling it in so that you don’t have to bother with printing, and clearing each entry after the week is through ready to use it again.

Balance your time

I said this timetable would save your life, didn’t I? And your life isn’t ALWAYS about work. It’s important to balance your time whatever the situation, but especially now that most people’s lives have been turned upside down and routine and balance have gone out the window.

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Make sure to balance your workload and nurture your hobbies, whether that be crochet, pole-dancing, or gaming; make the most of being able to indulge in UNLIMITED exercise; take time to unwind and commit to some serious self-care and, of course, stay social online with your friends.

Tailor it to you

The positive side of losing all structure now that uni has gone online is that you can completely renovate your timetable to suit your own needs. Take a minute to self-assess what you spend your time doing, how much you enjoy each activity, what you tend to over-indulge in and what you tend to avoid.

You can completely renovate your timetable to suit your own needs

I categorised my activities into six groups: uni work, hobbies, socialising, relaxing, fitness, and cooking. As an English Lit. student, sometimes my Uni work blurs with my hobbies or relaxing category, as I do actually enjoy reading. Nevertheless, it is important to set aside time solely for non-work-related activities – in my case, reading for pleasure, not study.

Your categories could be anything from chores to spending time with siblings, as long as it's tailored to YOU.

As you can see in the attention to detail of this article and the pie-charts above, procrastinating studying is my vice. There is absolutely no need to spend time making a pastel colour coded pie chart depicting your life, but if you also struggle with procrastination, be my guest.

But you shouldn’t feel you have to make a pie-chart or a timetable, if you can keep a rough idea of your plan in your head. The main thing is to know your goals and check yourself every once in a while so that you can maintain balance and a sort of ‘feng-shui’ in life.

Don't beat yourself up

Remember, these tips and tricks are here to help you feel good about yourself, and if you beat yourself up about spending ten extra minutes zooming with your dog when you should have switched to revising something or other then it defeats the whole object of the plan.

LISTEN to your body and your mind. UNDERSTAND how and what you feel. ACT on those feelings. And most important of all, BE HAPPY. Hopefully these tips will help you to achieve your goals while simultaneously leading a stress-free and fulfilled way of life!

Here is a blank version of my timetable:

Featured image: Epigram / Maddi Lane


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