By Alice Ball
I spent the week moving my belongings into my new university house, and it has led me to start thinking about I can do to prepare for my second year of university, and particularly for its online aspect.
I, like many other students, will receive the majority of my teaching for the foreseeable future through online methods. I will only be required on-campus for seminars, which will be a significant change from what I am used to, as I was required to be on campus for all teaching last year.
As I found it quite difficult last semester to adapt to virtual learning. I have devised a list of four positive habits, which I will adopt myself, that I believe will help students transition seamlessly into the new method of teaching.
Number 1: Create a clear working zone
The first habit is to create a clear working zone. When my university transitioned to remote learning in March, this is something that I was not used to having, and I chose to work from my bed. Whilst this was a more comfortable arrangement, it led me to being extremely unproductive and stressed. Working from my bed meant that I did not have any separation between where I worked and where I relaxed, which ultimately led to me constantly thinking about the work I was completing even when I was trying to sleep.
Reserving a space solely for completing University and extra-curricular work will allow for a clear separation between where you relax and where you work. This, in turn, will raise productivity and hopefully make this educational change easier.
Number 2: Use the library more frequently
Another positive habit that I am going to push myself to develop is to make more use of the university library, something which I failed to do last year. The library is an amazing resource offered by most universities, but is not used enough. I could count on one hand the amount of times I went to the library to work last year, which is shocking. Not only is the library an amazing work environment because of its quiet atmosphere, but also thanks to its countless resources. I only realised how important the library was when I had to complete my end of year assessments 70 miles away from it.
By using the library more frequently, I believe that I will be able to improve my academic scores and develop a greater depth of knowledge with regard to the law, as I will have access to a multitude of different resources. In addition, completing work somewhere other than the desk in my room will allow me to have a fresh perspective of what it is I am writing.
Number 3: Schedule study sessions with my peers
This is a habit which I wish to develop, naturally only if permitted under COVID regulations upon returning to university in October. In the last academic year I found that studying with my peers was a great way to further develop my understanding of legal topics, as well as gaining different viewpoints on topics of debate. I feel that these sessions will be even more beneficial now with the move to a more virtual education, as the number of peers with which I will have contact with will be significantly reduced to roughly 10 per module. I fear that this will limit my ability to understand their different perspectives on certain topics. Not only will extracurricular study sessions with my peers allow me more easily understand their point of views, but they will also be a positive social aspect, something that I am especially keen to maintain in the coming year.
Number 4: Create a clear timetable
This habit is one that I have already started to develop since being home from university, as a result of working a part-time job whilst still trying to participate in as many career enriching opportunities as possible. This is an essential habit, which I believe every student should try to develop in their life. Creating a clear timetable allows you to effectively plan out your week to make sure that you are able to complete all the tasks you set out.
Whilst it is important to make all of your academic activities fit in your schedule, it is also equally important to make sure that you allocate sufficient time to relax and do the things which you enjoy – for me, that is baking.
Ensuring that you have a balanced timetable will not only make your routine more sustainable, but it will also contribute to a less stressful academic year.
Whilst it may be a struggle at first to develop these habits, I believe that if we begin to try them from the outset then they will quickly become second nature, and enable us to have a year as positive as possible under the current circumstances.