The blank page stares up at you. Your finger hovers over the keyboard, deliberating on which keys to press. The marking criteria takes its place beside you. You’ve gone over what it says hundreds of times, and still, you’re stumped with how to begin.
We’ve all been there. As students, it isn’t uncommon for us to dread deadline season, but this is made even worse for those who struggle with online learning. Now, admittedly, being able to complete your lectures and seminars whilst in the comfort of your own bed isn’t a burden. However, it can become a problem when it comes to finding the motivation to start your assignments.
Distractions are often the biggest issue. According to Edology, a key component to being successful at any online course is discipline; essentially, this means not having your attention stolen away by ‘social media, YouTube and news websites’. Even though you may sit down with the intention of spending an hour or so writing, with an unlimited access to technology it is inevitable that you will check your phone every once in a while.
Another problem comes from the technology itself. WIFI issues are common, which makes research practically impossible, since libraries and quiet spaces to go to study are currently closed due to the virus.
Speaking of quiet spaces, the everyday noise of a busy household can make concentrating challenging. Whether it be barking dogs, screaming younger siblings or parents demanding that you go and help empty the dishwasher, there is always the temptation to shut your laptop and give up.
It is easy to say to someone that all they need to do is sit down and concentrate. But this isn’t so easy when it comes to online learning. One way that you can improve your concentration could be by taking regular breaks, or giving yourself rewards after you complete each task; an iced coffee here, a doughnut there. With the end of lockdown in sight, there is hope that soon places of education will reopen, adding more structure into your academic day and giving you that sense of pride in the work that you produce.
Until then, however, all we can do, as students, is to keep on studying.