Distance Learning - How to bounce back to Studying after a Long Break

Photo Credit: Pexels- Oladimeji Ajegbile

Returning to study after an extended period of time can be a strenuous task for anyone to undertake. This post has become a necessity due to the number of mail requests I've received about bouncing back to studies after a very long period of time; the COVID 19 Pandemic and the 9 months Strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), in Nigeria. 

The break will definitely pose a challenge to many Students on how to kick-start into the study-mode after a long period. The long gap post their academic years leaves them in a “resting” phase, and a lot of energy is spent in “waking up” their brains for the “once-upon-a-time” studying task.

The Human brain is programmed to assimilate the patterns of our daily lifestyle, in due course of time. With the consequence, that over a period of time, the routine tasks, however huge, are done without much ado. Similarly, when it comes to studies, the crux in performing well lies in patterned and concentrated efforts (focus) towards the goal.

The process is similar for everyone though, because it's certainly isn’t easy to completely change lifestyles of multiple rests, idle periods or even working to being a student again. It is important to keep a clear head so maintain focus, and understand why this return to study is being undertaken.

How to orient your efforts to achieve the desired academic goal? How to create that “pattern” for your brain to help you make the best use of your study-time? How to? Here are a few tips on how to get over study blues and kick-start back into that study-routine, after a long gap.

1. Buy a Planner or Calendar

Some people work better electronically, and others work better on paper, but it doesn’t really matter which of these options are used as long as they work. A planner, calendar or diary is an easy and efficient way to organise the coming days, weeks and months.

Use it to write down important dates such as when assignments are due or when exams are scheduled. This will help to create goals and to minimise stress levels.

2. Set a time-table

A routine will guarantee that work will be done, and readings will be read. Study can add a lot of stress, particularly for those who are working or taking care of a family as well. This means that it’s pretty easy for readings to slip through the cracks and suddenly the exam date is here.

Be sure not to make the routine too busy though, otherwise it will become more likely to falter or fail. Make sure to allow a reasonable amount of time for each activity, and to also factor in breaks. Find a routine that works best to avoid a burn out half way through the semester.

3. Get started from Day 1 (Upon resumption)

As mentioned, you have to create a pattern for your mind to gear up for the goal. So the earlier you start with your assignment on the distance learning program, the better. By doing this, you are laying the foundation for a routine, which would have become stronger with time. Remember, the greater time you get exposed to the study-frame of mind, the better will be the orientation of the mind.

4. Make Sure to Have a Good Work/Life Balance

It is important to find a good work/life balance to ensure that no aspects of life suffer. Don't waste time doing frivolous activities.

Factoring in breaks to daily routine, and having a study free day help to clear the mind and ensures that time isn’t wasted by procrastinating. Likewise, completing a study activity such as readings or an assignment can act as incentive for a relaxing reward.

Never make the mistake of overloading yourself with the volume of work. Once your brain gets saturated with all the data, you will get visible signals and do not ignore them. The more you dump into a tired brain, the more gets dumped out. So, take a break and refresh before you move into the next study-slot.

Initially, define your study-hours for a stipulated time-period. Let us say, considering the volume of your syllabus, you could allot half-an-hour to one-hour as your study-time. Once you get into the comfort-zone with your study-frame, you could gradually increase the number of study hours.

5. Create the right environment

Whether it is going to be “Nature or Nurture”, for your performance, will depend on the study environment you create for yourself. Keep your surroundings neat and clean and fill your room with the right colours, which would lift-up your mood and brace you up for the task.

Avoid sitting on the bed with your books otherwise you shall eventually end up, leaning, lying and finally snoring. Instead vouch yourself on the study table. Even the dining table shall serve the purpose. In short, create an environment, which will, energize and enthuse you to study more and more.

6. Concentrate - Keep distractions at bay

Many a time, lack of concentration has posed to be a greater problem than other life-threatening issues, which vouch to buckle us down. Put that smartphone aside on silent mode or even better in the other room whilst you are studying if you are in the habit of flipping the cover every 5 seconds without any reason. Stop "crushing candies" or "rushing behind gold" for a while. They are not gonna make you win fortunes.

Games are meant to help people engage their spare time. Here we are speaking of seeking time out of your scarce time.

Concentration is not a singular effort but the united effect of a mind-set which knows: “What to achieve?”, “When to achieve?”, “How to achieve?” For instance, when you set the goal of securing a degree through distance learning, you have to set your mind equivalently towards that goal. The other parameters will automatically fit into the frame.

With these few above-mentioned tips, study blues will become a thing of the past and you will have greater clarity on how to set forth towards your academic endeavours.

Culled from Nirupam Bhattacharya's LinkedIn profile

Manager Personnel & Administration Import & Export at Worldclass Gourmetfoods Pvt. Ltd.

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  1. thanks alot...
    I think this will really help we students well...