Semester 1 is right around the corner – which means online learning will be back in full swing. Five ACU students share their tips about how to get the most out of your studies, as well as how to make time for life beyond uni.
- Manage your time
If you’re having trouble staying motivated, if you find yourself procrastinating, or if you just don’t know where to start with all the tasks you have on your list, using a tried and tested time management technique can help keep your studies on track.
“I used the Pomodoro Technique,” says Micah Suba, a Bachelor of Nursing student at ACU’s Brisbane campus. This technique is focused on breaking down a task into manageable chunks of time, each followed by a five-minute break.
“I decided to build a habit of doing at least 25 minutes of reading or studying, then rewarding myself [with] five minutes’ break of dancing to music, which I’m always passionate about. In doing this every day, I realised I have built a good habit and was able to discipline myself.”
- Make a schedule
Having a schedule for how you’re going to use your time can be really useful in helping you stay on track. A good schedule should include your study tasks, but it should also include time for other critical tasks that you need to complete over the course of your day – think doctor’s appointments, a shift at your part-time job, and time to stay connected to friends and family overseas.
“I adapted to online learning by setting out a schedule every day, contrary to my previous habit of mapping out my activities for the coming week,” says Kristoff Cabral, a Melbourne-based Bachelor of Laws (Honours) student from the Philippines.
“This [helped me] not only survive, but to also thrive amidst an unprecedented period.”
- Learn from home (or from your bed!)
One of the downsides of face-to-face learning is having to show up at a certain time and place every week. With online study, you can cut out the time and cost involved in commuting and study from the comfort of home instead. What’s more, the move to online learning means that most classes are now recorded – so if you miss a class or if you want to revisit some of the key learnings from a particular lesson, you can do it whenever and wherever you like.
“If I missed a class, there was always an option to go back online and listen to what I was taught,” says Keiron Immanuel, a Master of Teaching student at ACU’s Brisbane campus.
- Look for the positives
According to Bachelor of Creative Arts student Evan Fernando, at-home study can be a great set-up for multitasking during classes – you can jump from screen to screen to look up detailed information on lecture content, check your notes or refer back to your pre-lesson reading, all while keeping an eye – and an ear – on what’s happening in the class Zoom.
“In online classes, everything is on one screen, which makes it easy to multi-task and be more productive,” says Evan.
“I feel online learning experience saved [me] time and money and let [me] explore [my opportunities] and skills much more.”
- Take regular breaks
While studying when and how you like can be beneficial, it can be easy for the boundaries between work and play to blur. Taking regular breaks is a really important part of maintaining a healthy balance between learning and life.
“My recommendation for effective online studying is prioritising rest and breaks while studying. I find that I’m more productive after a good night’s sleep or a nice long walk or swim,” says Jami Emerson, a student in the Bachelor of Information Technology and the NSW International Student of the Year.
“Especially now that we spend so much of our time at home, I find that it’s super important to give my brain a break.”