How I Successfully Coped With the Pandemic: A Student’s Perspective

Hi! My name is Sweta and I’m a sophomore at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business (aka Zoom University) studying Economic Consulting, Public Policy Analysis, and Sustainable Business. Isn’t that a mouthful?

With the abrupt ending of my freshman year, I was anxious about the prospect of online learning. The transition to studying at home while still fulfilling my responsibilities as a college student scared me even more. After a relatively tough adjustment period (and a few meltdowns), I was able to maintain a steady rhythm and adjust my daily habits to the new reality. Here are 5 tips I used to end my semester strong academically and keep my emotional and physical health intact:

Save Your Sanity by Effectively Silencing Your Phone

During the first few weeks of quarantine, I was glued to my phone. I looked to the news app for any kind of solace that the pandemic (and toilet paper shortage) was ending. Unfortunately, I was bombarded with depressing reports and heart-wrenching stories about overcrowded hospitals. This wrecked my emotional wellbeing and also put a damper on my productivity.

If I wanted to excel in my courses, I needed to limit my distractions and implement these following tools into my life:

Switch your phone to Do Not Disturb (feature on the iPhone). Instead of having the temptation to check my phone every single time it rings, I only check it when I need to.

Do you spend way too much time on some apps like Instagram or TikTok? The Screen Time feature on your iPhone may help you solve this time-consuming problem. You can set a time limit for any app on your phone with this cool feature. Apps like Freedom or Forest can also help you cut the time you spend on your phone.

If you’re a little too obsessed with your email like I am, limit your email checking to only 3 times a day. Once in the morning, during lunchtime, and before you go to sleep.

Another major source of obsession during this time is the news. Save your sanity by turning off the never-ending news notifications. Here are some great alternatives to staying up to date on the coronavirus (while not losing your mind):

Only check the news in the morning Subscribe to daily email newsletters like theSkimm or TheWeek For good news and inspiring stories follow Good Good Good (@goodgoodgoodco) on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

Treat Yo’ Self With Self-Care (and Chocolate!)

Parks and Recreation’s Tom Haverford once wisely said, “Treat yo’ self!” We should all follow Tom’s advice and treat ourselves with lots of self-care.

Chocolate is a must for me, especially during this global pandemic. I treat myself to a delicious dark chocolate truffle twice a day. No matter what your form of self-care is, it’s important to take time out of your day to focus on your own well being. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed during this difficult time, focus on the things you can control.

Zoom call/FaceTime your friends and have a movie night! You can also use Netflix Party to watch and chat with your friends or family in real-time!

In these times, it can feel like we don’t have control over much. A conscious way that I remind myself that I do have control and purpose is through a gratitude journal. Every night before bed, I write what I’m grateful for. It doesn’t have to be a twelve-point single-spaced five-page essay (my worst nightmare), but a few sentences of what gives you hope and joy.

You probably saw this one coming—exercise. If you don’t have access to exercise equipment at home, try these at-home workouts that work just as well.

Yoga or Pilates (YouTube is your best friend here) Go outside for a 15-minute walk (I hear you… this isn’t really at home) Johnson & Johnson 7 Minute Workout App (Hell Week for Navy Seals. Uh, I mean… high-intensity interval training) People with home gyms

Improve Your Focus With Functional Music

Course work is always a challenge (let’s admit it…), but now it became my nemesis. Even if I sat in silence, my mind wandered and I struggled to finish even the smallest tasks. It was hard to ignore the noises and chatter in my house as I’m quarantined with my family (we all know how annoying that can get).

An app that helped me get more work done and relax my anxiety around the coronavirus, was brain.fm. It’s an app that plays 30-minute clips of functional music that is backed by extensive research and science. Whether you need to study, relax, or sleep, brain.fm can help you reach your goals and get that A+!

To improve your focus, I recommend listening to music without speech or lyrics. Additionally, listening to songs with sounds of nature is scientifically proven by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to boost your mood and focus.

Stay Motivated With the Pomodoro Technique

My motivation to study or get out of bed was at an all-time low in the first few weeks of quarantine. I found that being a college student at home wasn’t conducive to a strong motivation or longing to learn. I found most of my motivation from my peers on campus, so I needed to figure out a way to fuel my motivation remotely. Here’s a virtual technique I used with my study buddies to keep me motivated:

Using a video platform, you can virtually study with your friends with the help of the Pomodoro Technique. Here are the guidelines for an efficient Pomodoro study session with your friends:

Study for 25 minutes Take a 5-minute break where you can chat with friends Repeat the process and at the hour mark take a 15-minute break

Use this free online tool to keep the time of your Pomodoro study session: Pomodoro Method Style Time Management Tool & Timer.

Most importantly, remind yourself of your long term goals. Keep the big picture in mind and know that better days are ahead!

Study Smarter! Not Harder!

With the challenges of online learning and awkward zoom classes, it’s important to have every tool in your arsenal to ace your classes. Let’s be real—when you’re balancing 17 credit hours, family arguments, and anxiety over the world ending—studying your entire accounting textbook is like climbing Mount Everest. Here’s how I made my climb a little more bearable while enjoying the view (even if my view was watching the Amazon delivery man drop off the million packages I ordered): Puppy looking out the window

It’s time to ditch cramming and embrace the technique of spaced repetition. Spaced repetition is a technique where you spread out your learning over time. This technique helps you learn more effectively and retain information long-term. Here are some tools that seamlessly integrate spaced repetition into flashcard learning:

With **Anki **, your digital flashcards are personally tracked and analyzed for long-term retention as you study the flashcards.

With Polar, you can auto-convert your text into digital flashcards and learn using spaced repetition. Polar will also manage all your documents (web pages, textbooks, and PDFs) in one place. If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the material you are being taught and retain the information, handwritten notes are the way to go! You always have the option of transferring your handwritten notes to digital text with Pen to Print.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” No wonder he’s brilliant! To make sure you have a clear understanding of the material, assume the role of a teacher. Explain the material to someone who is new to the subject, and see how well you communicate it.

If you’re feeling bored during this quarantine or have run out of shows to watch, I recommend enrolling in free courses from top universities through Coursera. We all know that finding the motivation to study in the midst of a global pandemic is a real struggle. That’s why I curated these tips and tools to help you navigate this new reality and excel in your courses. I’ll leave you with the words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry ‘bout a thing, cause every little thing’s gonna be alright.”

Posted on: 02 Jun 2020

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