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Adapting to a new city and online learning

My transition to Manchester was an exciting one as I moved here in October before the second national lockdown, so I was able to spend a month exploring the city and the campus facilities.

On the other hand, the beginning of online learning was not easy as I found it difficult to focus. Over the last two months, however, I realised that whilst the online learning experience might not be as enjoyable as in-person learning, there are certain steps I can take to make the most of this experience. Some of the things that you may find helpful with learning in these difficult times include:

1. Going to the AMBS or Library

One mistake that I made at the start of the semester was doing all my work at home whether it was listening to pre-recorded lectures or live lectures. A couple of weeks in, I found myself staying at home too much which was quite depressing. I decided to start using the study spaces to help me get out of the house. The University of Manchester has some great studying facilities, my favourite one being the 2nd floor by the window at AMBS. One great thing about getting out is that sometimes you run into other students from your course whom you can have a social distanced chat.

The Hive Cafe at Alliance MBS

2. Creating a routine:

With us studying from home, it is tempting to stay in your pyjamas, turn off the camera and listen to all your lectures from your bed. But I have personally found that it is difficult to be productive whilst in my pyjamas. Try to create a routine that resembles what your days would look like if classes were in person, this is especially important for the days when you have live lectures. Schedule days to watch your pre-recorded lectures and to do your seminar work. For example, since I have live lectures from Monday to Tuesday and all my seminars on Wednesday, I use Thursday and Friday to go through the pre-recorded lecture and Saturday for any seminar work.

3. Taking care of your wellbeing:

Alongside getting out of the house and creating a routine, it is important that you are doing things that improve your wellbeing. This may include going out for a short walk or exercising. One thing that has helped me is getting all my work done by Saturday and using Sunday as my rest day. This is when I do most of my pleasure reading. Connecting is another thing that has helped me. Every evening, my flatmate and I sit in our kitchen and have dinner together and talk about our day. Find people whom you can safely talk to whether it's to complain or just have a laugh with. There are societies that you can join to meet other people. It helps to know that you are not alone.

I hope that you find some of these tips helpful.

Stay safe!

The main quadrangle at the University of Manchester