The views expressed in this article are the author’s and are not necessarily the views of the partners.
Before I start, I plead guilty to the offence of leaving my math homework midway, just to write this blog. But, it is also important to note that it was the homework itself that triggered the urge to put this message across to everyone reading this.
The year 2020 hasn’t been a kind year to any of us. We have been on the brink of a world war, witnessed gigantic wildfires, seen innocent lives being lost in the wake of gory communal clashes, super cyclones ravaging our coasts, the excruciating loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter crash. Not just these but also an unprecedented migrant workers exodus, a massive economic slowdown, gargantuan waves of protests against the institutional murder of George Floyd in the US, devastating floods in Indonesia and much more.
However, the defining moment of this year has been the seemingly unstoppable spread of the novel Coronavirus, or as the WHO calls it, COVID-19. Said to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China, this virus has now spread to almost all parts of the world.
To slow down the pace and magnitude of transmission, the world retreated into unparalleled ‘inactivity’. Nationwide lockdowns were announced, sanitisers and masks have become essentials, and ‘social distancing‘ has been introduced into our vocabulary and is the new normal.
Sometime in the second week of March, the state governments in India began closing down schools and colleges to contain the spread of the virus. On 19th March, the Central Board Of Secondary Education (CBSE) temporarily suspended the remainder of board exams for students of Class 10th and 12th. The new schedule for these exams, they said, would be released after deliberation within the organisation. Due to their closure, most of the schools and colleges have turned to online learning. Owing to the circumstances, many students have begun their new session in front of their computer screens.
While online learning might be the new normal for a post-COVID world, it also brings with it its own set of downsides.
Closure of schools will not only have a short term impact on the continuity of learning for more than 321 million children in India, but it will also engender far-reaching economic, social, and psychological consequences.
Personally speaking, navigating my lessons through online school has been a little fatiguing and arduous, since a ‘school’ caters to the need for socialising with peers, enhanced interaction, better learning milieu and much more.
While online school is convenient in the sense that we can attend classes without having to wear those uncomfortable uniforms and access a multitude of helpful resources with the click of a button, it also has its own list of drawbacks.
These range from long hours in front of the screen, which has undeniably weakened my eyesight and worsened my headaches, to the onus of completing assignments and homework by typing them out.
For an Indian student, this can be extremely tough as we have been accustomed to the chalk-talk teaching model. This pandemic has managed to transform the centuries-old conventional model of learning to one driven by technology.
More than attending classes, what has caused greater stress for me is the burden of completing assignments, revising my concepts, and studying on my own. Initially, it was hard for me to scrape through, but I eventually came up with my own strategies, mechanisms, and ways to study fittingly and boost the motivation to hit the books, while, at the same time, monitoring my mental health in these times of strife and pain.
An efficient way to create a routine is by preparing a list of things you want to do the next day. However, setting unreasonable goals and not achieving them by the end of the day can bother you, and the feeling of guilt can overrule all the other things crossing your mind.
Set minor goals to tackle as you move through the process of getting things done, and make it a point to reward yourself once you have achieved these goals.
As uncertainty looms over all of us, it is natural to indulge in ‘unusual’ behaviour. I have often found myself trying to study for long hours at a stretch but in vain. Doing so is extremely unhealthy.
It’s important to take breaks and not overwork. Do something interesting while you take a break so that your mind gets activated.
Clutter can cause stress, decrease productivity, induce a negative feeling towards your study area. This can also have a negative impact on your grades and overall performance.
One way to reduce the amount of stress is by making your study area minimalist, soothing, and free of distractions.
Naps help to clear the gunk that builds up in our minds. They also help prune away some of the connections between neurons, making space for the new information we would be coming across once we wake up.
Hence, when you feel exhausted or fatigued, take a nap and reset your mental space.
Self-care can mean different things to different people, but the core philosophy is that it’s essential for your physical, mental and emotional well-being. Self-care begins with baby steps towards improving your well-being and making yourself happy, whether that means taking a nap, reading a book, or simply sitting in silence for a few hours.
Having a healthy diet can also be beneficial as it functions both as a stress manager as well as a study aid. Taking breaks from, and setting time limits around, social media use can help us re-energise ourselves. Constantly being swamped with upsetting news and stories can unnecessarily intensify worry, agitation and anxiety issues.
We need to ride ourselves out of this together, seeking solace in the idea of there being a light at the end of a tunnel. Hope this helped. 🙂