Jhenn Brook Student Ambassador

How to Prepare for Academic Challenges in a New Environment

A guest blog by graduate, Jhenn Brook

We are always looking to collaborate with current students or recently graduates on blog articles that offer advice to anyone thinking about coming to university. We know times are more uncertain than ever which is why we've been speaking to some REAL students and graduates about their experiences with lockdown learning and hopefully it answers any questions you may have about life at university in this current climate.

Here, Jhenn offers her take on preparing for university in a new world.

Hey guys, I'm Jhenn Brook and i've written this blog to hopefully give you some guidance now you've moved to university or are moving in the next few months. I hope you find it helpful!

Pursuing tertiary education is by far one of the most challenging and stressful events in one’s life. If you are a student who is moving to another city or country to have better access to quality education, the stress you have to face grows tenfold. Students are bombarded with the stress of living alone or with strangers, finding friends, balancing their own finances and passing their university classes. To make things even more dreadful, the ongoing crisis has also meant hundreds of changes to the educational system. All these, and more, can make university life a lot harder than it has to be. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to brace yourself for a completely different academic setup, given current circumstances:

Develop good study habits

Distance learning comes with a lot of unique challenges, and as a student, there is no better way to prepare for it than by developing good study habits.  Understood mentioned that you can begin  by having a designated studying spot, a checklist, a stress management strategy and a formal schedule.

If you want to further improve your study habits before the school year starts, try enrolling in an online class that piques your interest and aligns with your passion. In his article on the best online learning platforms,  digital nomad James Gonzales  mentioned how there are a lot of sites out there such as Udemy, Coursera and edX that offer short free courses in various fields such as business, fine arts, design, and humanities. This simple trick will not only put your study habits to the test, but it will also help you learn new things and give you a feel of what distance learning would be like.

Entertain a change of scenery

More and more people are suffering from restlessness, decreased motivation, hopelessness, difficulties in concentrating, lethargy and bouts of sadness. According to  an article by the Healthline , all of these are signs of cabin fever or the distress that one feels when stuck in an isolated location for an extended period of time. One thing you can do to keep cabin fever at bay is entertaining a change of scenery. In her article on CNBC,  health reporter Cory Stieg  explained how a change of scenery can boost your well-being and mood, thereby alleviating some of the negative symptoms of cabin fever. Aside from taking a short run or a walk, consider going to a private study room. Here in Vita Student, we have bookable study rooms that students can use with their friends. To ensure safety, all rooms are at capped capacity with social distancing and sanitising stations in place. Simply book your time slot via the Vita Student App.

Stay connected and socialise safely

Yes, you may be self-isolating, but it doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself out from the world. Make the most out of technology and use it to stay connected with your friends and family. Organise movie nights, have virtual dinner dates, play multiplayer games or check-in on your friends every so often. At Vita Student, you can also partake in socially distanced meet and greets or capped capacity in-person events (in the majority of cities depending on Government restrictions). Remember, now is not the time to close in on yourself. No matter how difficult it may be, you have to go out there (not literally, of course) and build stable connections with your peers and loved ones.

Take the time to care for your mental well-being

Your education and university classes are important, but not more than your overall well-being. Now that we are in the midst of a public health crisis, it is all the more crucial for students to take the time to care for their mental health. As a student,  Thrive Global emphasised that  you can do this by working towards self-acceptance and learning how to be comfortable with the mistakes you might make throughout your university life. In addition to this, you can also look into virtual counselling. For instance, here in Vita Student, we have UNIHEADS, which is a student-focused mental health platform that students can access free of charge.

I hope you find the above useful and good luck to everyone with their studies! Thanks for reading.

Find out more about Vita Student and how to secure your place for 2021/22 here .

Jhenn Brook Student Ambassador “Thanks for reading.
If you have any questions,
please get in touch!”