Getting back to studying | Advice for Young People | Jigsaw

Getting back to studying

Getting back to studying

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Coivd-19 has brought about many unprecedented changes for everyone. Students, in particular, have been heavily impacted by the closure of schools and colleges, and uncertainty around exams.

As the country starts to open up again, it is common to start imagining what school or college might look like as you return. This may bring up various emotions for you right now, which is understandable.

To ensure the safety of staff and students there may be some changes. There will also be many things that will remain the same. You may find comfort in thinking about familiar things when you go back into formal education.

For some, you may have got used to having your own self-guided study routine at home. You may be wondering how you will adjust to studying when you are back.

Girl with head in hands trying to study
Focusing on the present moment by practicing simple mindfulness exercises can help us when worries about the future arise

Tips that may help support you getting back to studying

  • Routine. Routine provides structure, safety and familiarity. Start thinking about what might support you in getting back into a routine. Start by looking at the practical things that can support your study such as sleep. Has your sleep pattern changed since you have been away from school? If it has (which is highly likely) look at establishing a healthy sleep routine, helping to prepare our body and mind. Good sleep hygiene can improve focus, concentration and mood, all of which can benefit study.
  • Create a list of what helps. Make a list of things that supported you while studying from home. Some of these might help support studying in school or college also. Include practical strategies that have been beneficial but also self- care activities. This will help you keep a balance between study and self- care.
  • Keep focused on your goal. We may have got used to being able to do things at our own pace. As a result, the thought of re-adjusting to a new timetable maybe be leaving us feeling unmotivated. Think about if there is there a particular goal you want to achieve when back in school or college? If so, staying focused on your goal and what you want to achieve can help increase motivation.
  • Acknowledge any difficult thoughts or feelings. These are challenging times and none of us has experienced a situation like this before. It’s OK to not be OK in the face of it. Acknowledge any difficult thoughts or feelings that might be coming up in relation to studying. Writing these down on paper may help clear your mind of negative thoughts. In doing so, take notice of your inner voice and avoid being overly critical or hard on yourself.
  • Stay in the now. Our mind often tends to come up with questions we cannot answer, which in turn can increase our anxiety. Focusing on the present moment by practicing simple mindfulness exercises can help us when worries about the future arise. Check out the ACE grounding exercise below.
  • Be kind to yourself. Recognise that this pandemic has presented us with many challenges and distractions. It is understandable if it has been difficult to keep on top of work. If you feel that you have fallen behind, there is always an opportunity to catch up. Take notice of what you have achieved, rather than what you haven’t. Talking to a teacher or lecturer might also be helpful to support you in getting back on track.
  • You are not alone. Please remember, we are all in this together and we can move forward by continuing to be kind and supportive of one another.

Watch: Ground and steady yourself with the ACE tool

‘ACE’ is a tool that can be useful for grounding yourself if you find that you’re caught up with difficult thoughts or feelings.

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