Mental health, online and on-campus
Haven’t got the hang of balancing online and on-campus learning yet? That’s okay – we know that many of you are (rightfully so) struggling with establishing a structure, prioritising self-care, and procrastinating. So, with the help of UTS Counselling, we’ve rounded up some tips to help you get on track – before assignments start rolling in!
Structure in a structureless world
You have a class at 10am, so you roll out of bed at 9.45. Then, you have all day to finish your notes – so you’ll leave it until after dinner. After dinner turns into 10pm, then 11pm, then suddenly it’s 2am and you haven’t finished your work for tomorrow’s class, which starts on-campus in eight hours!
Sound familiar? If it does, don’t worry – you're definitely not alone. The trick is to get on top of it sooner rather than later. Your future self will thank you come exam time!
1. Schedule, schedule, schedule
Draw up your weekly schedule, and slot in time for study, classes, travel and relaxing (this last one’s important – don't overload yourself, or you’ll be back at square one).
Then, break down each task into easy steps. If you want to go to the next level of planning, check out the Library’s assignment planning tool – it'll tell you what to do and when to do it by!
2. Choose (and use) your time wisely
UTS Counselling (backed up by science) reckon that your brain works best in the morning. So, wherever possible, use your pre-12pm time to do the heavy lifting, whether that’s writing the first paragraph of your essay or tackling the trickiest concept from your tute. This may mean getting up an hour earlier to squeeze in some learning before you Zoom or travel into class.
But, of course, for some of us the thought of getting up pre-9am is a no-starter. So, take note of when you’re most productive and apply the same principles then!
3. Other obvious-but-important organisation tips:
- Read the Subject Outline, and scribble due dates in your diary or phone calendar. Setting a reminder a week out won’t hurt, either!
- Travelling into uni on public transport? Use the time to catch up on readings. The upside of emptier buses means room to spread yourself out!
- Don’t do your work in bed. It’ll interfere with both your work and sleep quality – a lose-lose situation, if you ask us.
Self-care – not just a buzz word
Sick of being told to ‘prioritise self-care'? Us too! So, instead of thinking of self-care as wellness retreats, expensive yoga and shopping sprees, reframe it to mean deliberately putting time aside to do something for yourself. This is especially important while juggling on-campus and online classes.
1. Need some self-care inspiration?
Choosing a self-care activity is a personal thing. The key principle, though, is that you make them special and do them regularly and deliberately – that means that mindlessly Netflixing before bed probably doesn’t count!
Here are some ideas to inspire you:
- Make yourself a cup of your favourite tea, and take a 15-minute break from study or work to drink it by a window.
- Write down three things you’re grateful for.
- Revisit a book you used to love, and read it without judgement. Twilight, here we come!
If all this sounds a bit ridiculous, don’t give up on self-care! Check out these out-of-the-box tips, listen to the Student Learning Hub’s latest self-care podcast, or head to their UTS Counselling-approved self-care web page!
2. Here’s how UTS can help
Simple self-care not cutting it? We’ve got your back. There are heaps of ways to boost your mental health through UTS, including booking a UTS Counselling appointment with no out-of-pocket fees, checking out the UTS Psychology Clinic, or chatting to other students on the TalkCampus app.
3. Help outside uni
If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call 000. If you want someone to chat to, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or online. Or, if you’re looking for a long-term fix for your mental health, call up your GP and ask for an appointment for a Mental Health Care Plan (MHCP), a scheme which partially reimburses you for up to 10 appointments with a psychologist under Medicare.
Other obvious-but-important mental health tips and resources:
- Are you LGBTQIA+? QLife is here for you.
- Looking for help for someone else? Check out resources from Black Dog and Headspace
Our old friend, procrastination
Procrastination is more-or-less unavoidable, especially at the moment. But there comes a time – especially around exam time – when not being able to do your work is really quite annoying! Here’s what UTS Counselling suggests!
1. Find your motivation
The one thing that online and on-campus study have in common is that you’re completing them to reach a goal. So, to kickstart your motivation, try to remember why you chose to come to uni in the first place. Are you here because:
- You love learning new things?
- You want to be the first in your family to graduate?
Then, use that reason to commit to your studies, whether that means watching all your lectures or gunning for an HD.
2. Uni work or work-work?
Another tip is to think of your classes and study as a paid job. You have a set number of hours you need to complete, and you have people relying on you to get things done (sure, you’re that person – but it still counts!). Plus, you can’t (or shouldn’t) be on Netflix while working! So, whether you’re on campus or in an online tute, keep work and recreation separate.
Other obvious-but-important motivation tips:
- Diet, exercise and sleep – you know how important they are. Doing what’s best for your body means optimising your motivation, performance, and general wellbeing.
- Check out the Student Learning Hub’s procrastination podcast (hint: there are some pretty helpful resources at the bottom of that page!).
- Read about how to manage procrastination.
If we haven’t made it crystal clear: you’re not alone in struggling to find a balance. That’s why there are so many other resources – check them out!