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Shimona Albuquerque

28 May 2020

How student Shimona got in the rhythm of online study

We know that many of you have found it difficult to transition to online study, and have missed your normal routines, lifestyle and social connections over the past few months.

In the lead-up to revision and final assessments, we’re checking in with some of your fellow students to see how they’ve been coping and what strategies they’ve used to survive this very unusual trimester.

Third-year student Shimona Albuquerque, who’s studying a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science/Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) at the Burwood Campus, took a while to get into the groove of online study. But over the last few weeks she’s found her rhythm and says that isolation has made her appreciate the little things in life we take for granted.

She tells us about her journey this trimester, how she’s survived lockdown and what she’s learnt along the way.

How have things changed for you with the move to 100% online teaching?

I initially found the move to online learning challenging. I lacked the routine developed through attending seminars and lectures on campus, and missed the face-to-face interaction. Getting started on assignments was difficult, as I lacked the required motivation.

However, as time has gone by, I feel that I have gradually managed to adjust to the online method of studying.

One of the most beneficial things for me was developing a routine and setting myself goals to achieve for that day. With online learning, it is very easy to just sit at your laptop for hours on end without being productive. By scheduling breaks and doing different activities, I’ve found I use my study time more efficiently and effectively. It took a bit of time to get used to online learning; however, I have found my rhythm and am now enjoying it.

Do you still feel like you’re in touch with lecturers and classmates?

While I don’t see lecturers and classmates in person each week, I recognise the same names attending class online. So even though face-to-face interaction may be lacking, I feel like I am still in contact with my classmates and tutors weekly, albeit virtually. I am also in regular contact with friends who study the same course, and we often give and receive help from each other. 

What’s the best communication tool you’ve used?

During isolation, I have mainly relied on Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with friends and classmates. I’ve also used WhatsApp to video chat with my extended family every day. Using Zoom has been another great tool. We celebrated my Grandma’s 92nd birthday last week virtually, as we couldn’t gather and celebrate as we normally would.

Although we may have to be separated physically, it’s important now more than ever to stay connected socially.

How are you feeling overall?

While I have mixed emotions, I’m feeling quite positive overall. Isolation has given me the opportunity to stop and reassess my priorities and what is important in life. I feel like I have also built up my resilience and gained a greater sense of focus.

What are the positives of this experience and what are your concerns?

Playing Premier League hockey, working and studying means I usually don’t have a lot of spare time. One of the positives to come out of this situation is having time to slow down and do things that I normally wouldn’t be able to. In isolation I have started baking and cooking. While it’s not likely I’ll feature in the Masterchef kitchen anytime soon or be the next Poh, I have had a lot of fun developing my culinary skills and it’s a great way to break up my study!

I have also loved going for runs and completing core circuits to stay fit and active. Additionally, reduced time travelling is a major positive. Waking up 15 minutes prior to class and snacking on an assortment of foods during lectures is something I will miss once on-campus teaching resumes!

A concern of mine would be adjusting back to campus-based learning once restrictions have eased, as you can get quite used to this style of learning! Isolation has made me appreciate the little things in life we take for granted, such as catching up with friends or going out for brunch.

Has this experience changed the way you think about your studies?

Lockdown has allowed me to reflect on my career intentions. This has been helped along by two of the units I’m currently undertaking, which explore career development. These units have given me an opportunity to identify any gaps I have in my skillset and how I can develop these gaps once restrictions have lifted. It has also made me think about job security in the event of a pandemic like this occurring in the future.

Anything else you’d like to share?

You’ve probably heard it before, but it is very true – balance is key! While it’s important to stay on top of unit content, be sure to take a break, whether watching a TV show or going for a run.

I also find it highly beneficial to make a note of deadlines and plan around them accordingly. Focus on what you can control, such as your own health and wellbeing.

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