Your Easter break may not have been the one you were planning (although we hope the Easter Bunny brought you some chocolate) but there’s no doubt we all needed a bit of a rest after all the upheaval and disruption we’ve been through. It’s still the vacation, although you might find your thoughts turning to the new term – work you still need to complete, assessments you might need to prepare for – or just wondering what the new term will be like, studying remotely. If you’ve had to move home to study, been unwell or had to take some time out to focus on other urgent priorities, you might be finding it particularly hard to know where to start or how to get going again.
The WDC has had a good think about how we can help you with picking up and getting going with your studies again in what are most certainly challenging circumstances. We didn’t want to trot out the usual smug tips on organising your time, but thought hard about the things you might be facing, and how we can help you be compassionate with yourself, doing the best you can. Below is the first in our series of Time Management Tips for Troubled Times – you’ll find more on the ASK website!
- The main thing is to make a start, less so where to start. Make your first step small so it feels do-able, whether it’s just digging out your module or programme handbook or any other information you need, or filtering through your emails or BlackBoard notifications to pick out important communications about changes to teaching and assessment, or assignment deadlines (maybe just a week’s worth if there has been a deluge of them!). Even just logging on might help you feel back in the swing a little.
- Figure out first if there are any priorities you need to be aware of such as assessment. Your lecturer may have posted these already, but you could also check with friends on your course or contact your module leader if you’re uncertain or concerned.
- You might have several modules or assignments competing for your attention. Does one of them have a more urgent deadline, or is there one you feel more behind with?
- You might begin by going back to your module handbook and any other information about the module to refresh your memory about its learning outcomes, topics covered already and those yet to be covered. You could gently review work you’ve already done, lecture notes, ReCap recordings or past assignments just to familiarize yourself again with the topic, activate that learning again and remind yourself that you do know things! Don’t see this as revision or worry if you can’t remember details, you’re just refreshing your sense of it and reactivating your memory.
- If you feel you’ve missed a lot of content, you might just watch any video content for each week to get a sense of what’s been covered, rather than working through all of each week in turn. You can then go back and undertake any activities that have been set, or pursue any reading, for previous weeks. This will even help you synthesise your understanding across the module so far, getting a better overview to help make connections and prioritise.
- Try doing a bit of freewriting to get back in the flow, either to warm up for writing or just to get your thoughts moving again. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write, as a stream of consciousness without stopping, whatever comes to mind about the studies you’re picking up again, and see what comes out.
No time to read? Listen to our tutor Helen talking you through these tips.