Hi everyone, we hope you are doing well during this frustrating time. We understand how hard it is to get back into the routine of studying when there is so much on your mind – we’re dealing with that tough transition too – so we know how difficult it is to be a student right now. While we continue to advocate on your behalf, we encourage you to check out the online learning and mental health tips we have found helpful.
Online Learning Tips
Structure Your Days
Give your day structure by using a diary or calendar to: plan for online classes, dedicate some time to studying, allocate time for exercising and eating, and put time aside for breaks to speak with friends/family and watch a TV show! Your brain likes structure, even though it may be hard to motivate yourself now, getting into a routine gives your days some predictability which can help you feel safer during this uncertain time.
Set-up a Good Study Space
If you haven’t got a study space, now is the time to set one up at home! Whether it be at a desk or at the kitchen table, try to ensure you have separate spaces for sleeping and studying, as this will improve your productivity and improve your sleep.
Make a Study Group
Studying online can be dull sometimes, so if you can, we recommend having a skype or zoom sesh with some friends in your unit or course to make it a bit more fun. You can quiz each other, flesh out concepts together and motivate yourself to keep up to date with content. If you don’t have a study group, don’t stress, you can meet other people from your course or unit through the hundreds of unofficial Deakin student groups on Facebook. Or you can always make your own group!
Utilise Online Library Resources
The Waterfront and Warrnambool campus libraries are now closed, whilst the Burwood and Waurn Ponds libraries will remain open, but with limited designated study spaces and restricted on-campus collections. They will be open from 7am-7pm and will be subject to social distancing protocols. However, the library has a large collection of electronic and resources available online that you can access at home. If you have any questions, we recommend utilising the 24/7 live-chat pop-up on the library website.
Check out UniStart
If you’re new to Deakin we highly recommend checking out UniStart! It has links to help better understand Deakin’s digital tools, such as: deakinsync, unit sites, turnitin and assignment submission. It also has tips for studying such as: reading and note taking, assignment planning, referencing, researching and tips for studying online.
Consult Language and Learning Advisors
These advisors are a great resource to help you understand your assessment tasks and can provide feedback on planning, writing and revising for assessments. They are available via phone and Skype.
Speak to Writing and Math Mentors
These mentors provide free personalised study support regarding academic writing skills and math concepts, respectively. You can contact them via email, and they are also available for drop-in sessions via Blackboard Collaborative.
Mental Health Tips
Don’t beat yourself up for not being as efficient as usual
It’s totally normal to feel off your game during this time, so don’t be discouraged because you “should be more efficient with all this free time”. We know you all have a lot on your mind; be kind to yourself, set yourself bite-sized goals and develop a routine – you’ll get back into the swing of studying soon. Plus, we’ve secured initiatives such as 3-week assignment extensions and pushed-back the withdrawn late date to help you through this time, so if you’ve fallen behind you have the chance to catch up!
For some tips about how to get yourself motivated and back into the groove of studying, click here for a great article
Take Breaks to keep yourself motivated
Whether you play the new Animal Crossing, binge-watch Brooklyn 99, listen to calming music and work on mindfulness, or have a zoom sesh with some friends, having a break is important for your wellbeing. You are not a machine, you need to let your brain relax sometimes.
Just because your gym is closed, doesn’t mean you can’t boost those endorphins at home. But don’t follow a dumb TikTok turning the floor into a treadmill with soap! There are a bunch of home workout tips available online and, if you can do so safely, go for a walk and enjoy the outdoors!
For more tips about fitting exercise into your daily routine, click here to read a great article.
Organise your time
Enforcing some structure in your life will make you much more productive and will ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by your studies. Additionally, developing a routine gives your days predictability, which is needed during this uncertain time. Make sure you give yourself sufficient breaks, so you don’t get burnt out and you keep yourself motivated.
Click here for more information about the benefits of structure.
Strive to eat healthy meals
Eating a healthy diet maintains healthy brain functions for studying, do your best to make yourself some healthy meals and don’t go too hard on the caffeine. Check out sites such as Tasty.co and Taste.com for some great cheap and healthy recipes! Also, the President of DUSA will be posting some videos where he makes some healthy meals on a budget, we’ll let you know when those come out!
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
This is where structure comes to play: it is important not to oversleep and to ensure you get at least 8 hours a night, so make sure this is part of your schedule. Also try to ensure that your sleep and study spaces are separated for optimal studying efficiency.
For some additional sleep tips, click here.
Don’t socially isolate
Although it’s crucial to self-isolate and use social-distancing, this doesn’t mean you should totally cut yourself off from the outside world. Utilise social media, phone calls and video calls to keep yourself connected to people.
Seek mental health support
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if your mental health is significantly disrupting your life. Deakin offers free confidential psychological support to Deakin students through highly skilled psychologists and social workers. Although face-to-face appointments are unavailable, phone consultations are.
Click here for extra details and campus specific numbers to book an appointment
Seek help from a DUSA advocate
DUSA employs qualified and experienced Advocates who offer confidential advice and support. Advocates will listen to your concerns and assist you with your academic, financial and personal matters. So, if you are feeling confused or concerned about anything that is affecting you and your studies, speak to an advocate. The Student Advocacy and Support Services team are really dedicated to helping students, so even if they are unable to work through your problems with you, they will help you find the service you need.