Studying from home: an open letter and thoughtful tips

Courtney Celine Welham is a BA (Hons) Interior Design student and Fashion & Design Student Council President. She reflects on her time in isolation.

This article is part of our new series, Regent's Review: thoughts, research and academic discussion on the rapidly unfolding pandemic.

It has been a month since the University closed, and a lot has changed for all of us. We have had to adapt to a completely different way of living, being isolated from family and friends. But it is important to look at this period of our lives and think of the positives. It is a time to reflect on ourselves and what we want to accomplish in the future. 

For those of you who are in foundation and first year, your academic year has finished however this doesn’t mean that your creativity and learning should also stop. Use this time as a self-study reflection period, a time in your life where you can choose what you want to learn and create something that fuels your passions and creativity. Whilst second and final year students will have to carry on working on their submissions, it’s also important to take time out and reflect on what you are doing but also create time for yourself to express your hobbies and interests.

A lot of us have had to create a makeshift workspace at home; a place where we can attend our online classes and pretend we are still integrated into University life. However, this is very hard when you wake up five minutes before your online seminar and lie in your bed trying to concentrate on what your lecturer is saying whilst you are half asleep in your pyjamas. You may have adjusted to online teaching well at the beginning of this transition period, but now we are two weeks in and we don’t even know what day it is anymore. 

So here are some tips on how to get out of the slumber and finish this academic year in the best way.
Wake up and get ready, create a routine and wake up similar times each day.

  • Get dressed even if it’s just in comfy clothes – just try to get out of your pyjamas (I know it’s hard)
  • Have breakfast, take your dogs out for a walk, do your daily exercise. If it’s nice weather, try and eat outside, it’s important to get as much vitamin D as possible when stuck in isolation
  • Go to your makeshift workspace. This can be anywhere in the house, but from personal experience, I would highly recommend working by a window to ensure you are surrounded by natural sunlight as much as possible. It’s also a nice view to zone out to, when you have been staring at your computer for too long
  • Create a to-do list. Even if you spend the whole day doing it, you are then set for the next day. I have decorated my workspace with to-do lists and calendar deadlines and it makes me feel productive even if I’m not. (I probably shouldn’t admit that but it’s the truth.)
  • Try and stick to the work hours you are used to. This will help when trying to get work done for submissions. Have lunch roughly at the same time every day, and also take this time to relax for a bit before going straight back to work. Maybe use this time to call friends or family members
  • If you are like me, who has already binge-watched everything on Netflix (bad habit of watching Netflix whilst studying) maybe it’s time to listen to music when studying or work in complete silence whatever works best for you.

It’s important to remember you are not alone in this strange time of isolation. Wherever you are around the globe, we are all in this together and it’s important to stay connected. Be proud of yourself as to how you have adapted to this experience and use it as a learning curve for the future.

I wish you all the best, stay home, relax, be creative & stay safe.

This article was originally published by Regent's Student Union.