Maia’s Tips for Distance Learning at University

Posted on 17th Jun 2020 in Community, Former Pupil

Many of our Sixth Formers are now looking forward to university, although it won’t be the start to university life that anyone could have expected. Our pupils will have been used to learning remotely over the last few months, but what will it be like to be a remote university student? 

Maia Hely was our Head Girl at MES two years’ ago and is now in her second year studying Mechatronics at the University of Glasgow, a combination of Mechanical and Electronic engineering. She has spent the last term experiencing university life remotely and here she gives our Sixth Formers her top tips for getting ahead as a virtual student.

Get set up to study

  • Try to allocate space in your room or house to do uni-related work that is separate from where you relax. This makes it easier to focus, away from any distractions
  • You could also try putting your phone somewhere it won’t distract you or just switch it to ‘Airplane mode’.  If that doesn’t work, you could download ‘Cold Turkey’ on your devices to freeze the pages that you know distract you when you’re working
  • At school you are used to following a timetable and there is much more free time at university but it’s helpful to create your own timetable and stick to your schedule as much as possible in order to help you to keep on top of coursework.

Tech Tips

  • To help you save time in online lectures, use a laptop or tablet that you are comfortable with and learn the shortcut keys. If you can’t touch-type then I’d recommend learning this skill over the summer
  • If WiFi is an issue for you at home then shop around for unlimited mobile data packages to use your phone as a hotspot. There are quite a few student deals available through schemes such as UniDays
  • If you are doing group calls for tutor groups or classes, make sure that you have tested your audio and speakers beforehand to make yourself easy to be heard and understood. This saves you the stress of realising something isn’t working during the online class
  • Make sure to never ‘reply all’ on an email to the whole year/school/university! This annoys people to no end so make sure if you have a question that you are getting in touch with your lecturer directly.

You can still be social

  • Do some research into clubs and societies online. Most use Facebook or Instagram pages as their main online presence and many are doing a lot of online/ virtual work/training/events at the moment. Get in touch with the committees of clubs you are interested in joining and ask them your questions, they love to hear from you!

Get a mentor

  • If there is a mentorship scheme- sign up! I joined the female engineering society and they offer a mentor to first and second years. My mentor was incredibly helpful for giving me an idea of what to expect, when to be switched on and what to look out for. He checked in with me throughout the year and it was good to talk to someone who had done it all before.

Thanks Maia. We wish all of our Sixth Formers the best of luck for their next steps after ESMS!

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