Our current situation can, at times, feel like one that is full of challenges. There will be times where many of us will feel a bit overwhelmed with what’s going on, finding it very easy to identify the obstacles that prevent us from doing what we might normally do to achieve our best in college.
These obstacles can be situations and sometimes people. In some cases, we can see difficult people becoming more difficult, anxious people becoming more anxious but also kind people becoming even kinder.
Although we can't pretend these obstacles don't exist, perhaps we can think of them as differences to our previous routine. Let's look at what some of these differences might be and then think about how we can respond to them.
DOES IT FEEL LIKE COMMUNICATION OVERLOAD?
Does it appear that your email, WhatsApp, messages are in overdrive? That could be true, but have you stopped to think how many ‘messages’ you would normally receive in different ways?
- what about those conversations in the corridor of A block,
- or the quick chat with your lecturer just before you leave the classroom,
- or the chats with friends during your commute to/from college each day?
Lots of different people speak to us each day but in the current situation a lot more of this is coming through online channels.
Your CIT email and Canvas are so important now, these will be the ways that your lecturers and other critical services at CIT communicate key messages to you. You don't need to check them every five minutes – this will add to a sense of overload; instead perhaps identify two or three times each day to quietly read and digest your email and Canvas messages. Then think about how you remember and action what's in the message. Should you add an important date to your calendar or diary? Do you need to send a quick email to your lecturer to clarify something?
LIMITED ACCESS TO CONNECTIONS OR DEVICES?
Are you someone who is missing CIT Wi-Fi or the machines available at college to help you do your work? Many of us will be feeling frustrated with slow or non-existent Internet connections. Some of us might be sharing a laptop with family or trying to work using just our phones.
You must let CIT know if there is any reason why you cannot easily access your learning materials online using an extenuating circumstances form. The online IEC Form can be accessed here / on the Covid-19 portal https://covid19.cit.ie/important/iec-form.
More information about CIT Academic Arrangements During COVID-19 Situation at https://covid19.cit.ie/important/cit-academic-arrangements-during-covid-19-situation
Finding the right space to learn...
Have you been used to staking your claim in the library or Open Access areas as a quiet place to study? Are you from CCAD and missing your studio space? How are you managing in a shared house as you try to practise your instrument?
We know that studying and learning remotely is quite different… you might be sharing the kitchen table with other family members who are studying, working, home schooling as well as eating!
So, how are you going to share the space with others? Could you identify some quiet times with your family to allow time for focus? Perhaps try searching ‘Study with me’ and giving the Pomodoro technique a go to make the most of the quiet time you do have…
Need to drown out the background noise? There are some great motivation and study playlists on YouTube and Spotify, grab your headphones and hit play, you'll be in the flow of learning & study in no time.
The Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Department has produced short clips about using Canvas and have tips about your a remote learning study space visit https://covid19.cit.ie/remote-learning-for-students/student-tips-for-remote-learning
THERE IS SO MUCH GOING ON!
It will be completely normal that many of us will be anxious during this situation. We might be feeling isolated from our friends and family, feeling less positive about our daily life or concerned about our own health.
It is important that we nourish ourselves mentally and physically, seeking to identify some positives – perhaps a conversation with a friend, a healthy meal or just taking 5 minutes to ourselves when we can. Many of us help ourselves by helping others…how are you supporting others?
For yourself make sure you use all the services available at CIT. Staff in AnSEO, CIT Access, CIT Library, CIT Students' Union and Student Services have been working hard to update material/useful resources online in response to your queries and questions. Visit https://covid19.cit.ie/ for the most up to date information.
Some people talk about building up a mental immune system. Have you heard of the Five Ways to Wellbeing? These are simple phrases or words linked to small actions that have been proven to improve our mental wellbeing. How can you Connect, Be Active, Be curious, Keep Learning and Give during the next weeks? The New Economic Foundation has some ideas:
- CONNECT -with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
- BE ACTIVE - Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
- BE CURIOUS - Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
- KEEP LEARNING - Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. As well as being fun, learning new things will make you more confident.
- GIVE - Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
HARD TO FOCUS ON LEARNING AND STUDYING
It can feel unsettling when our routine changes and perhaps you’re finding it hard to focus on your academic assignments and study? Now would be a good time to take stock and think what has worked for you in the past.
You might realise two things:
- You had some great study habits before we needed to adapt to remote learning - the positive challenge is now to think how you can make what works work at home:
- Q. Identify how you worked productively prior to Covid-19?
- Q. What can you do now that worked well for you in the past?
- You’ve recognised that some of your study habits might not have worked for you before we needed to adapt to remote learning – the positive challenge here is to identify how you can set in place some new study habits that will enable success in the short term and well beyond this current situation.
- Q. What study habits might you want to change?
- Q. What actions are you going to take to change your study habits?.
Would you like to talk to someone to help bring these plans and ideas to reality or do this exercise with an Academic Success Coach? Book an online session to explore and connect with your goals.
Does studying with your friends work for you? Make use of Google Hangouts as recommended by CIT to connect with your classmates.
KEEPING ON TRACK
Over the past few weeks, we’ve spoken to a lot of students and staff and one word that comes up is structure – the importance of getting into a routine, staying focused and keeping going.
How are you making good use of your available time – wherever it might be in the day? See more on tackling procrastination here.
But…it’s not just about structure. You also need to think how to manage when things don’t go to plan. It’s important to try and keep positive. Some days you could feel like you’ve had a really unproductive day but try not to dwell on it and allow it to affect tomorrow’s studies. Just take a deep breath, suck it up and then move on.
Have you read our tips for managing your expectations and self?
MISSING YOUR PEERS? US TOO.
We will all be having different emotions as we adjust to this new situation and could be missing our regular in-person contact with family, friends, partners, work colleagues etc.
Have you reached out and made contact with those around you who you can’t see physically at the moment? Some people are arranging virtual reading groups/book clubs, logging on to a table quiz (organised between a group of friends or one that’s already happening http://livequiz.ie/ ) as well as having a catch-up coffee during the day, or a ‘gathering online’ on a Friday night.
Find out what works for you, your family and your friends... remember, we're all apart together and probably all having a bit of FOMO.