By Jenny Bates
As we near the end of Hilary term – the third term where teaching has been online – I’ve been reflecting on the strange experience of virtual university! This term has felt really hard at times. Whilst virtual teaching during Trinity felt like it was going to be temporary, and online lectures were far more palatable during Michaelmas when I was living with friends in Oxford, this term has felt pretty tiring at times. As a second year I have now done more of my degree online than in person, so this is almost starting to feel like the norm – but a normal so different to what I’d signed up for!
During this lockdown, with lectures, tutorials, society events, socials, and pretty much every other element of Oxford life moved online, it has been tough to keep up motivation throughout the whole term. Daily walks, screen free lunches and home workouts has been the best way to break up a day of studying and zoom calls for me – although, like everyone else, I am desperate for actual in person events to provide a distraction from work! These breaks from staring into a screen have made me so much more focused – making sure I’ve deliberately scheduled time to spend not working has really helped me to stay motivated when I am working. I’ve also had to be a bit more forgiving, accepting that some days the seemingly endless nature of this lockdown will drain my motivation and I won’t check everything off my to-do list.
Right now, I’m trying to channel the hope of a somewhat more normal summer to give me the that extra bit of motivation to get to the end of term! I’m looking forward to those little things like walks in port meadow and picnics in Uni Parks – things that will break up a day of essay writing and lectures. It’s been so easy to lose motivation this past term, but taking plenty of breaks from work and welcoming the glimmer of optimism for the rest of the year has been invaluable in providing focus and motivation.