Using This Time to Upskill

The Home Study Toolkit

All the tips and tools you need for study and staying well at home

Over the coming period, you might find you have a little bit of extra time as you are not spending time commuting and rushing around. What better time to look at that mental list of skills which you promised yourself you would master someday! Below you will find a list of websites and tips which may help you use your time well! Set yourself a goal of learning one new skill or learning one new technique everyday...and see how satisfying it is to develop your skillset on an on-going basis!

 

Academic Skills:

Now might be a good time to find out how you learn best! Take this learning styles assessment to see what the best way for you may be to really benefit from the additional time you have during this period: https://www.dcu.ie/careers/Identify-My-Skills.shtml

DCU Writing Centre:

The DCU Writing Centre has moved online for all sessions. To book an online appointment simply click here.

Writing and Study Resources:

The following resources, along with many more, are available on the Writing Centre website.

1.    Introduction to Academic Writing

2.    Assignment Writing

3.    English Literature Assignment Writing

4.    Reflective Writing

5.    Scientific Writing

6.    Writing a Research Report

7.    How To Write a Literature Review

In addition, we highly recommend the Library LETS Series of interactive courses on effective research skills.

Discover DCU:

Students can log on 24-7 to Discover DCU, DCU's interactive learning skills suite, by clicking here.

We also have an extensive range of resources on topics here, including:

  • Assignment Writing
  • Time Management / Procrastination
  • Note Taking
  • Effective Reading
  • Revision & Exam Strategies
  • Groupwork
  • Presentations
Upcoming Online Workshops :

Student Learning will continue to provide writing and study skills workshops online. For details on all events see the Student Learning Workshops page.

Student Learning Officer Appointments:

Students can make an online one-to-one appointment with a Student Learning Officer to discuss learning and study skills. Common appointment topics include effective reading, note taking, time management, procrastination and exam preparation. Book an appointment here.

Staying Active:

Exercise is an extremely important tool to support your health & wellbeing. 

Here are some tips:

  • Think about what time of day suits you best, then add it into your schedule or to do list
  • Mix up your days, maybe walk every second day
  • Do Yoga, it will really support your emotional wellbeing
  • Go for a walk near your home
  • Video call a friend and walk together (using social distancing!)
  • Follow reputable personal trainers on social media
  • Join live workouts on Instagram
  • Challenge yourself, download a couch to 5km or 10,000 steps challenge
  • Set up a WhatsApp Workout group with friends
  • Have fun, blast your favourite tunes

 

There are plenty of free online Apps, so take a look and see which one works for you!

Maintaining a Routine:
  • For a daily activity schedule, which you can edit as necessary- click here
  • For tips on maintaining a routine while social distancing, click on this article from Buzzfeed here
Healthy Eating:

Staying at home more than usual can change your eating habits, but perhaps for the better. You will be able to access a full kitchen at lunch, as well as home cooked meals (if not your own, someone else's) and not have the added stress of commuting.

It’s important to eat well but don’t beat yourself up if you are enjoying some biscuits with your cup of tea, this time can be difficult so the last thing you need is food guilt. 

Our tips:

  • Just like your study, keep eating at similar times of the day and include it in your daily plan
  • Keep main meals healthy, e.g. porridge for breakfast
  • Remember carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins at most meals (every if you can)
  • Learn to cook new meals
  • Bake!
  • Savour treats and don’t feel guilty
  • Organise a lunch or dinner over zoom with some friends
  • Snack on fruit & nuts


Take some time to discover some easy and healthy recipes:

 

Mental Health & Wellbeing:

Minding your mental health and wellbeing is so important and especially when things feel uncertain. Being at home and practicing social distancing (‘physical distancing’ maybe more appropriate), can really give you space to look inward and a chance to regroup. 

Reading books, journaling and meditating are all healthy ways for us to sit with our emotions and support us. Remember feelings pass and there are lots of ways we can support ourselves. 

Connecting with friends over the phone or online, is so important, you can use Zoom or WhatsApp to video call each other. Check in with yourself and others, ask your friends how are they feeling. 

The HSE have a great piece on their website on minding your mental health during this time, the emotions we may be experiencing, and where to get help. 

Here are some telephone and online supports available to you https://www2.hse.ie/services/mental-health/services-search/.

You can also book a counselling appointment at counselling@dcu.ie 

 

Relaxation Techniques:

Fore some relaxation techniques, click on the following links: 

Mindfulness:

If you have always wondered what Mindfulness was about but never had the time to learn about it and practice it, maybe now is the time!

  • For an introduction to the benefits of Mindfulness, please click here 
  • For a Mindfulness Handbook please click here. This contains 'Mindfulness of thinking', 'Befriending feelings', 'Awareness of eating', 'Self Care', 'Awareness of pleasant and unpleasant qualities of experience' and 'Acceptance and change
  • Mindfulness Podcasts can be found here
  • And take a look at this series of Mindfulness Videos here

Social Media:

Social media is a great tool for informing us and connecting us, especially during this time, but remember to think about how you are interacting with the latest news, and how it is affecting you. It is not good to check Twitter and other news sources too often for the latest updates! Too much information and from too many sources can leave us feeling overwhelmed and heighten our feelings of fear etc. 

  • Here are our tips:
  • Really limit the amount of times you look up the latest news 
  • Try not to look any news if you notice you are feeling more anxious
  • Remember only use reputable sources of information HSE & Department of Health
  • Follow accounts that give you content you enjoy & makes you feel good
  • Now is a great time to unfollow or mute people/ accounts that don’t serve you or make you feel bad about yourself
 
Hints & tips for studying at home with your family:

While this will present a new challenge there are ways to make studying at home a little less stressful and a lot more productive!

  1. Call a family meeting.  Your family is new to this situation just like you.  Set aside a time to meet and explain that you need time and space to study. When you have to remind them that you are studying and not free to play, chat, etc they will remember your family meeting. 

  2. Create a space to study.  Sounds obvious but having one designated space will help to keep you focused. Some people like to read in one area but write in another.  Find what works best for you.

  3. Create a schedule.  Involve your family in this - kids or younger siblings can help to fill it in.  As you are balancing study and family life, make sure to build in time with them throughout the day.

  4. Consider using a traffic light system by using coloured paper. You can stick these to the door of your room, to the wall or your desk, etc.  Get your children / younger siblings involved and let them make them. 

    • RED - don’t interrupt me as I am in an online class or I have a deadline etc

    • ORANGE - before you interrupt me ask yourself “Can this wait?”

    • GREEN - you can interrupt me if you need something 

  5. Set your alarm and get up as usual each morning.  Get ready for the day in your usual way by washing, getting dressed and having breakfast.  You should aim to be ready at least 15 minutes before your intended start time. Keeping to this routine is vital.  Getting dressed reminds your brain this is a college day. 

  6. Make sure to schedule time for family throughout the day.  It is not possible to continuously study and not spend time with your children / siblings. Before each study session show them the schedule so they understand when they will get their time with you.  

  7. Don’t panic!  If you have children, remember that they aren't used to this either, so they need reminding about the schedule and plenty of praise when they give you the space to study. One day will be fine and the next will be challenging.  Just relax and remember you can only do your best right now.   

  8. Build in rewards for your children / younger siblings if they follow the schedule.  This could be baking cakes, watching their favourite film, etc. Bribery is your new best friend!   

  9. Make sure friends and family know you are studying.  They need to understand why you are not answering your phone etc.  

  10. Constantly check your progress.  Am I on track to meet my submission dates?  Am I where I need to be in the reading materials?  If not, perhaps you need to look at your schedule.

  11. Prepare activities for children the night before when they are in bed.  Make up craft packs with little notes praising them for playing while you study.  Youtube has thousands of craft “how to” videos and Twinkl.ie have excellent downloadable worksheets to keep the children on track with their school work and keep them busy.  The mindful colouring will keep them busy for hours! Use the code IRLTWINKLHELPS for a free month of unlimited downloads.

DCU Engagement Award:

DCU's Student Engagement Award is a great way of getting formal recognition for all of your 'out-of-class' activity. Employers are looking for students who can evidence academic excellence and engagement in activities 'outside of the classroom'. The Award is open to all students from First to Final Year and you still have time to complete it in this academic year. We are changing the criteria to ensure that the campus closure doesn't stop you completing the Award at any level. Log on now and start your journey.

Careers Development:

Take some time in between your assignments to think about your career development and where you want to go when you graduate.

GradIreland has some really useful podcasts on careers in different disciplines: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpLEmKLkvlUy4NF78TJpp-w 

Further Resources:

5 Tips for Using your Time Wisely at Home

5 Tips for Third Level Students Working from Home

Study Skills Stress Management

LinkedIn have a 1-month free trial with some great courses, try this course on Time Management: Working from Home (recognised for the DCU Engage Award)

Please remember you can book an appointment via phone or Google Hangouts (meet) or Zoom if you e-mail the relevant servcice in Student Support & Development.