For the final year of my Master’s course I have to write a thesis in a research area regarding counselling which interests me, I was very excited to start this research project as I get the chance to be a lead researcher on a study!
However, this is the first year as a student that I have not been living on campus, surrounded by other students, which I found would be a big motivator during my undergrad and fist year of my MSc.
Since my course is now run of a few online lectures, and meetings with my thesis supervisor which are mainly online also, it is a very different structure to my undergrad and postgrad diploma.
However, I have had to adapt to this structure in order to stay on track with my thesis deadlines, stay motivated, and still feel like a student despite living so far away from the university and spending little time on campus.
Sticking to a schedule
I try and always write down a to-do list of all the tasks that need completing for the week in order to stay informed of everything that I need to complete in the week and feel a sense of productivity regarding my work despite working from home.
Making a schedule and having to-do lists allows me to allocate ample time for tasks, which I find means I am able to keep track of tasks and not become as easily distracted at home whilst studying as I am fully aware of all my work tasks which need completing.
Staying active on group chats
By staying active on course group chats I am able to get quick support from friends on my course to make sure I have not missed a tutorial or can get support for something course specific!
By staying in touch with my course mates it also makes me feel less alone whilst studying as I can chat to them and we can compare where we are at with our research projects!
Whilst studying my undergrad my course mates and I would regularly go out for coffee, drinks, or have movie nights as a reward for a busy day’s studying on campus.
I have decided it is important to maintain this tradition and acknowledge and reward when I am working hard, so I try to plan nice things with family or non-uni friends in order to maintain a good balance within my schedule to avoid burning out academically.
Appreciating the relaxed schedule
I have decided to shift my perspective on studying from home and view it more positively, whereas at the start of the academic year I felt treating uni as a ‘9-5’ monday-friday would be really beneficial to my education, I soon realised this was unrealistic for me.
With other commitments such as a part-time job and a placement for my course, I was finding myself having rest days throughout the week and finding that I was being hard on myself for not always prioritising my thesis on certain weeks.
However, once I started to view the limited schedule as a positive, and something which could be manipulated to best suit me, I was able to work within the week when it worked for me, and not feel guilty about admitting to needing a break.