Top tips for studying at home, by Goldsmiths alumna Issy Gosse.
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From September, many courses at Goldsmiths will be taking a mixed approach to study, combining face-to-face teaching with online learning at home.
This transition might present a bit of challenge for you, especially if you’re not used to spending a lot of time studying at home. So to help you get the most out of your experience, we’ve pulled together some helpful tips.
Create a positive working environment
When studying away from campus, try to create a space that puts you in the right frame of mind to work. This could be sitting at your desk, on your bed with your laptop and notebook, or even in an outdoor space like a park (if the weather’s nice!). In this space, try to minimise distractions, such as turning your phone off or putting it on silent, like you would during face-to-face teaching.
If you’re regulary using a space indoors, adding things like plants and pictures that make it a pleasant place to spend time in can help put you in a positive frame of mind.
Take regular breaks
Taking regular breaks is even more important when doing studying at home, as it keeps your mind alert and ensures you don’t burn out. It’s a good idea to take a small break after every hour of study – however, only you know how you work best, so try to keep a schedule that suits your preferred way of studying.
You should also make sure you have a rough idea of when you’re going to finish studying for the day. That doesn’t mean you have to stop if you’re in the flow of things, but there should be a time that you pack up your stuff and put it away so you can properly relax and have some time for yourself.
This can sometimes be a hard thing to do, however it’s crucial. Turning your phone off or putting it on silent, keeping your entire hour free for the online lecture/seminar you’re due to attend, and doing your work in a clean, organised space will all help you to stay focused.
Take part in group chats
Creating and engaging in group chats with other students on your course is a great way to make friends and stay connected with your classmates. You can use these group chats to organise online study groups, through your Microsoft Teams university account, or through apps like Zoom or Skype. Collaborative learning is a great part of university, and this can still happen, even if it’s not in person!
Engage with your learning
Similarly to how you would take notes when attending a lecture in person, it’s a good idea to do the same with online lectures. Make sure you have a notebook handy, are in a comfortable, quiet place, and keep distractions to a minimum.
Use your timetable to work out a good schedule for studying, and try to attend the online lectures in live time, rather than on catch-up. Be prepared before your lectures and seminars and make sure you ask questions about anything you’re unsure about – your lecturers and seminar leaders will tell you how you can get in contact with them for this.
Try not to procrastinate
This is probably the hardest one. With the flexibility of online learning, it can be easy to put things off or not do them at all. Some of the earlier tips will help you avoid procrastination, but one of the best tips is to make a timetable/schedule for your study time, including regular breaks, which also takes into account when you work best.
Being organised, setting yourself small, achievable goals, and having conversations about your work with other students can also help to keep you on track.