The essential tips that have helped me adjust to studying at home

14 May 2020
By Sharna Y, Student at De Montfort University

Staying at home and self-isolating has become the new norm during the coronavirus pandemic. Universities have closed and a lot of us are now at home. 

Adjusting to this new life away from classrooms, teachers and libraries isn’t exactly easy. But, there are certain things you can do to adapt and get your assessments in on time. Here, I’m going to explain some of the top tips I’ve developed while getting used to this new normal.

Create a space without any distractions

Family members, pets, television, social media notifications… these are just a few of the distractions I’m battling with while trying to work. To counteract them, I try to pick a quiet room to study in and ask family members not to disturb me while I work. This is a great way to reduce any distractions, no matter how tempting it is to play with the dog.

Try and keep devices such as phones and tablets in a different room, unless you’re using them for research, and turn off notifications so you aren’t on social media. Only surround yourself with the things you actually need, such as your books or pens, so you can focus fully on your studies.

Stick to a timetable

One of the things I’ve found challenging about studying at home is the lack of structure. To get around this, I’ve made a timetable so I can work out how much studying to do in a day and when assessments are due in. It’s really helpful, so I’d encourage you to do the same.

You could put your timetable up on a wall, add it to a calendar or just write it in a diary. Add all of your deadlines so you can plan your studying ahead and get your work done on time. Remember to be fair to yourself - you can’t study every module in one day. Take it in bite-size chunks and don’t put too much pressure on yourself each day.

Give yourself regular breaks so you can eat and rest, and make sure you have a cut off point at the end of the day. This means you can rest at night and recharge for the next day. Have weekends off to relax and keep a normal five-day routine.

Speak to people at university      

Keeping in touch with uni friends not only helps keep your social life going, but it also means you can stay aware of any assessment changes that you may not have heard about. My friends and I have started a group chat so we can ask each other for help if we need it and this type of support is invaluable.

You can also contact your teachers if you have any questions or need help – that’s what they’re there for! Send them an email and arrange a call to discuss your work. Don’t suffer in silence if you are struggling with your assessments, as it’s a tough and unusual time. Your teachers want you to do the best you can.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle


Keeping your mind and body healthy helps you focus on your studies. I eat regular meals and try to drink plenty of water (the NHS recommends six to eight glasses per day). Snack breaks can also give you a moment to step away from your work and refresh your mind before going back to it.

It’s also good to try and get seven to nine hours of sleep a night so you aren’t tired the following day, while setting an alarm for the morning helps you stick to a good routine. On top of that, I try to get some fresh air every day, which helps with my health and my mood.

Read more: 29 Soothing ways to get a good night’s sleep

Check your emails regularly

Checking your emails every morning and afternoon helps keep you up to date with any essay changes or tips from your teachers. Plus, it means you won’t miss any important information you may need. Write any new changes onto your timetable or in your diary as soon as you get them so you don’t forget.

Try not to put pressure on yourself

It’s a tough time at the moment and self-isolating may leave you feeling unhappy, stressed or lacking motivation. Try not to pressure yourself into studying when you are having a bad day as it can make it harder to do your work. Remember you are only human!

It’s important to realise that everyone struggles and needs a day off sometimes. If you don’t get all your work finished in the day, don’t stress. Stick to a cut off time and pick it up again the next day. Rest is important and if you plan ahead there is plenty of time to study.

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I'm a film studies student in Leicester who enjoys writing.