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Learning from home is different from learning in college. The difference between YOU and a student who studies remotely by choice is that you didn’t sign up for this. 

Managing your expectations, yourself and figuring out what works could prove tricky for a while but isn’t impossible.  Below are things that you can do to make the best of the situation we all find ourselves in: 

Keep Calm and...

You might feel out of your depth, that you aren’t working hard enough or that this is so much to do you’re finding it hard to start. You are not alone. The new reality you are facing is also faced by your classmates, CIT lecturers and staff and other students across the country (and the world!). 

... be kind to yourself

 “Everything can be taken from us but one thing: the freedom to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances" ~ Viktor Frankl 

This is a new experience for all of us and we are all coping as best we know how. Remember when you started college and it took you a while to figure it out – this is a similar thing. Be patient and kind with yourself and with those around you. Choosing to adopt a growth mindset will certainly support you in creating and maintaining a positive outlook. This can take some time to get into the swing of but is worth it.

... get it out of your head

Tackling everything at once might seem like a huge task so instead start off small. Get everything that you need to do out of your head and onto a list (either paper or on your phone/computer); it will help you to make sense of it all, reduce stress and help you not to forget anything.  

... take it one step at a time

Begin by focusing only on what needs to be done today and making a smaller list. Then, just start doing it – send that email, download those course materials, find the brief. You can do this. The best part will be crossing things off your lists once completed. Doing this could help you to begin to feel like you are in control and are achieving. 

... use your calendar

Keep note of what is due and when it is due to avoid any surprises over the next few weeks. Pop these dates into a calendar and check back regularly to see what is coming up soon for you. Some due dates may have changed, or new assignments might have come in with the swap to learning from home. Check in with your classmates, lecturers and on Canvas to make sure you have the most up to date information. 

But there is so much unknown…

Right now, there is a lot that we just don’t know, but we can assure you that lots is happening behind the scenes to ensure that CIT’s academic quality and standards are maintained. 

It is natural to be worried about your grades or to want to know what your assessments will look like. Any information about changes to your assessment or assignments will be shared with you by your academic department as soon as it has been signed off.  

CIT students have told us that they are finding this experience challenging. That they miss the routine. That it’s hard to get stuck into assignments. That they don’t have access to facilities (dodgy Wi-Fi, don’t have access to a computer, no available learning space, limited access to materials etc) that otherwise they would have if they were on CIT campus.  

It’s important to remember that you are not in this alone. 

Whatever you are feeling it is likely that some of your classmates are experiencing a similar thing. GradIreland says in this report that students across Ireland are all experiencing similar things. 

Have you chatted to your classmates? Have you reached out to your lecturer to clarify anything you are unsure about? Have you thought about using the services that are available to you from CIT? Find out what’s available to you from CIT at https://covid19.cit.ie/student-services 

Do you have FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)?

The great thing about learning remotely, in the current situation, is that everyone is doing it. Meaning that you aren’t missing out on anything by being off campus currently. All CIT staff and students are working/studying remotely.

 

However, it might feel like you are missing out on the ‘college experience,’ such as, the chats you have with your classmates between lectures, clarifying something with a lecturer when you meet them in the corridor, the banter at lunchbreaks, the feeling of ‘being in this together’ when studying in the Library or in Open Access, seeing friends from other courses when walking around the campus or attending societies and sports meet ups.  

 

It won’t be the same but you can continue to do some of these things (in a slightly different way) to feel more connected to the CIT community: 

  • Participate in the group chats that your course already has set up (Canvas, WhatsApp, Facebook, Snapchat etc) to stay in touch with your classmates. 
  • Set up a virtual study group with your classmates/friends so you can bounce ideas off each other and study together. 
  • Arrange a videocall to meet your classmates/friends for a virtual lunch or coffee or just for chats – attending college is usually a social experience. 
  •  Set up a new messaging group with your classmates/friends sharing something positive about your experience learning from home each day. 

Patience is a key skill

As we are no longer able to meet people face-to-face it might seem that everything is taking a little longer than normal.  

 

Suddenly asking questions and hearing back from friends, classmates or lecturers isn’t as simple as it used to be. This has both positives (it gives you a chance make sure your question is clear) and negatives (can feel like you are progressing slower than you usually would). We are all in a very different place than we were a few weeks ago when still on campus. Keep in mind that some people now will be juggling all their regular commitments with caring duties, childcare and added worries and stress.

 

Before you react, remember that you have the choice in how to react. Consider taking a few deep breaths and progressing with another element of your work while you are waiting to hear back. If waiting on your lecturer to get back to you, consider reaching out to your classmates to check if they can help? Have you read back over the message boards on Canvas or on your class group chat? You never know someone else might have already asked the question you are thinking of.

What else can you do?

“The most effective way to do it is to do it.” Amelia Earhart 

SHOW UP FOR YOU

Looking after mental health, in addition to physical health, is a real priority and easily forgotten in times like this. CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Department of Arts in Health & Education have developed a shared space that offers words, images and tools to support and cultivate hope. It also provides links to other websites and spaces to support our psychological wellbeing. Visit: http://www.creativitytonic.ie  

 

MOVE

Between the lack of moving from classroom to classroom throughout the day and government directive to stay at home, it is likely that everyone is moving less. According to Fitbit, on a blog posted on 22 March 2020, step counts in Ireland have reduced  by 9% (and that was before the 2km limit for exercise was introduced) ,with a 7% - 38% decline in steps globally.  

Moving where and when you can, will help you loosen out after sitting at a desk all day. Here are some exercises that are perfect to stretch out whether you’re hunched over a desk, laptop, book, musical instrument or drawing pad. https://snacknation.com/blog/office-exercises/

 

TALK
Keep in touch with your family, friends and loved ones and remember although the campus is closed the CIT community is here to support you, we will get through this together.

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