Relearning how to study - Zoom University
Updated: Apr 21, 2021
My 20th Birthday was quite surely off to an interesting start. I had to move off-campus, there was an official word now: Epidemic.
We quite quickly had to adjust to a new norm. Being alone, ordering groceries, wearing masks, and of course, studying online. Zoom, Teams, Google Meets, WebEx...and the list goes on. About a year ago, I would have maybe been able to name one or two of the aforementioned. However now, I spend 97% of my day in front of the same screens. What no one told us, is that we were also ahead of a huge educational challenge. From burnouts to tired eyes, to the: "Am I muted?" -s, a lot was about to change in how we studied.
We spent about half of our lives studying in certain ways. Classes, lectures, writing on boards. Suddenly we had pre-recordings, putting our professors on 2x speed, Zoom classes, polls, self-grading automated exams, and many many many more.
At first, it was all new, and a lot of memes surfaced quickly about the situation, however, as time kept creeping by, one thing barely adjusted. We felt lost, didn't know how to study anymore. Having no human interaction in any of our classes, making barely any friends, being on a million online platforms at the same time. Being closed in the same tiny rooms, at the same desks, all day, every day.
However, as time kept going, some tips, ideas, and universally shared TikTok tricks helped us learn a lot about how we could relearn to study.
Here are 5 of my tips, and tricks that helped me in Zoom Universe!
I believe this to be my number one lesson in this new way of life and especially studying. A task made especially harder since we are living our educational lives in front of screens, with instant feedback.
However, classes are not that easy, to begin with. Changing the way you study after you have done it in one way your entire life is challenging for everyone. Be patient with yourself. Yes, classes will be hard, and frankly have only been way harder since the pandemic began. Having no feedback, human connection, and just generally even staying focused has become a huge challenge.
Remember, that this is a challenge for everyone. Don't just be patient with how you are trying to understand and consume the material. Be patient with yourself adjusting, be patient with yourself on harder days. Be patient on days where you have no motivation, and on days which you do. It will help you, greatly.
I know, I know. Again, with this moving nightmare, I really should hold my horses (quite literally). But what I mean is to leave your room, the room you are spending 98% of your day right now. I don't just mean out, out. I mean walk to the kitchen, study in the living room, sit outside if the weather is nice. Just don't let yourself stay within the same 4 walls for so long. I know it's easier to not do that, but you will be thankful for this after implementing this idea.
I'm not saying that classes will be easier from this, but it will keep you from going down rabbit holes. It will keep you from associating your room with nothing but work in your head. Get out! You need to establish that at the end of the day you can get your head away from the school mindset. To turn it off. Stop thinking about that assignment, that exam, that whatever. You have to teach your brain this, and the best way to do so is by physically getting away!
CALL YOUR MOM, FRIENDS, ENEMIES, ACQUIENTENCES
If there is someone you can call, call them. It has been hard to see humans on a daily, not only because it wasn't advised but also because everyone is busy, and now they are busy in their rooms. Going to classes, and education, especially in STEM fields has always been a team sport. Something, that no one really does alone. Until now.
So call people! You don't even have to talk. Just put your phones in front of you as you study, work, or whatever it is you are doing. Don't make yourself feel more lonely than this pandemic has already made you feel. Be with people, just like you would be in the normal days of school.
CREATE YOUR OWN SCHEDULE
Oh the ideas, we loved. So much freedom with our schedules! I can watch lectures whenever! How great it all sounded at first, and what a nightmare it has become. Not having any structure to our days, finding it hard to keep up with classes even more so now.
Make a schedule for yourself! Write up when your classes "are". Select times on certain days when you will be having that class. Assing a time, a length, and get that work done then. It will keep you from feeling lost in your days and pre-recorded lectures. Do this not only with classes but your days in general. Structure gives comfort to our minds. Build your own schedules!
MY NOTES ARE JUST MY NOTES
This is an idea, that I have truly used and realized after studying online. When I used to take notes before, it was so often unstructured, by this feeling that my notes had to make sense to others too. I realized just how much this was keeping me from keeping useful notes. Make your notes your own.
Can't think of a word? Draw it! Realize something while listening to the lecture? Write down what you just realized, what clicked, and when! Speak multiple languages? If your mind is processing it in one, then the other, just write it in a mix of the two! Don't make yourself pretend that your notes are for anyone but you. Write freely, and you will be able to learn better from them. Your notes are for you and you only!