Tilly Rose on studying during coronavirus self-isolation


Tilly Rose

Tilly Rose on studying during coronavirus self-isolation

Just over two weeks ago, I was standing in Radcliffe Square, surrounded by crowds of inspiring Oxford women for our ‘That Oxford Girl’ International Women’s Day campaign 2020. The atmosphere was buzzing.

Radcliffe Square is now empty. The students have been sent home. Next term at Oxford Uni, everything from teaching, to exams will take place online.

With dissertations, theses, course work and university exams on the horizon, for the student community, this is already a super stressful time of year, and now COVID-19 has added a whole new dimension: studying in self-isolation.

Whilst ‘social distancing’ and ‘self-isolation’ are sending the nation into panic, with Whatsapps coming in by the hour from friends who are already bored out of their minds, unsure how to structure their days and using FaceTime to stay sane, I can say with some authority, that it is something I have become somewhat of an expert on.

Living with 13 years of undiagnosed active tuberculosis, meant my teenage years were spent with long bouts at home, missing school, away from friends, unable to go out or see anybody and yes, it was rubbish. I yearned to be in class, to hang out on those grotty common room chairs, to nip to the cinema or grab a coffee but and this was a big BUT, I had no choice and that is exactly the situation we all find ourselves in right now. What we do have a choice over though, is the way to approach this time spent inside.

I adapted to a new way of life and you know what, so can you.

If you’re in the midst of revision season right now or working on your dissertation, I want to encourage you to turn this dreadful situation on its head and see this as a time to be productive. FOMO literally isn’t a thing right now; no one is doing anything, so what better time to knuckle down and smash your academic work?

Tilly’s Top Tips on ‘Studying in Self-Isolation’:

· Plan, plan, plan – the thought of endless months stretching ahead with no structure is well and truly depressing. So, now it’s time to implement your own structure. Either on your phone, in your diary or on a big piece of paper, split up your days into chunks. Look at all of the topics you need to revise and pencil in when you are going to work on each one. This will help your stress levels and give you a new focus each day.

· Group sessions – if you prefer revising with other people, jump on group Skypes and FaceTimes with your seminar and tutorial groups. Use this as a time to help each other with areas you’re struggling with and as an opportunity to share new concepts you’ve learnt. Whilst writing things down can be a great way to ingrain them in your mind, saying them out loud and explaining them to someone else can also be a brilliant technique.

· Online channels – head over to study blogs and YouTube, for inspo from current students in the same position. Here at ‘That Oxford Girl’, the TOG team will be keeping you well-connected to Oxford, with top tips on navigating Mods, Prelims and Finals on the blog& YouTube!

· Study breaks – what would you usually do in a revision break? Have a cup of tea, watch a bit of TV, scroll through Insta, do some yoga? These are all still very much on the cards. The bit that’s maybe missing is the social side of things. So, arrange FaceTimes with friends, book them in the diary, just like if you were meeting up and that way you’ll always have something to look forward to!

Finally, whatever you do, don’t give up. My own life circumstances when studying for GCSEs, A Levels and uni exams were hugely challenging but they taught me to be self-motivated, determined and to think independently. I often wonder, had I simply gone to school, done my work, relied on the curriculum, would I have fulfilled my dream of getting into Oxford Uni? Probably not…so whilst the situation the world finds itself in now is horrendous, I urge you to see turn ‘self-isolation’ into ‘self-motivation’, I know you can do it!

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