Dominik Kwolczak

Masters Computer Science Student

IT Technician

Tech YouTuber

Dominik Kwolczak

Masters Computer Science Student

IT Technician

Tech YouTuber

Blog Post

How I am coping during the lockdown as a computing student

April 30, 2020 Student Life
How I am coping during the lockdown as a computing student

It can easily be said that I wasn’t expecting a lock-down and a world health emergency during my final year at University. This new way of living and studying has definitely had its challenges. In this article, I will talk about how my learning experience has changed, what I found helpful and how I stay motivated during the lockdown.

How I cope during lockdown

I have a plan

It’s always important to have a plan, using a free online tool called KanbanFlow I plan out my entire week with the use of a Kanban chart and the Pomodoro technique. I built my chart following a technique implemented by John Sonmez from The Bulldog Mindset. The video below explains how John plans his week out.

Following this method, I am able to stay focused and motivated to write my assignments. In fact, I find this technique so helpful that I will continue using it after lockdown. The biggest challenge with this method is not looking at your phone. I managed to overcome this by restarting the Pomodoro timer, every time I get distracted. That has taught me self discipline and now I continue working for the 25 minutes after which I have a break and I don’t spend the 5 minutes by the computer or on my phone. I tend to go outside or do a 5-minute dumbbell workout.

My weekly plan includes lectures, assignment work, study time and even my shifts at work. Below is my plan for next week. Sunday is currently my rest day because having a rest day is essential and it helps your mind rest. It’s also when the best ideas spring up from nowhere. I always note these down in my phone’s notebook.

My Weekly Plan

How I keep on track and maximise productivity

I use the two hats approach, which I also discovered through John. When I’m building my weekly plan, I use the managers hat. A manager is the decision maker, they make the plan and adjust’s it if needs be. When I’m working on assignments I use the worker hat. As a worker I do what my manager tells me to do, I don’t make decisions or plans, I just follow them even if they turn out to be bad. I only make the changes in the managers hat, even if it’s at the end of the week or if you know that it won’t work.

This approach helped me to get more work done, as I always used to get distracted thinking and planning how I will do something or how I will write something without actually getting started. Now that I plan everything out a week in advance, I am able to stay focused.

I also tend to think of the University as a paying client, my assignment work as the product and my grades as payment. This motivates me to do my very best with all assignments I hand in, after-all if the product is of poor quality the client will either want it fixed or a refund.

I treat the tasks set out in my weekly plan as goals and rewards. If I complete a goal, I reward myself with online gaming hours during the weekend.

How I find Online Lectures

Most of my modules are now coming to an end, so most of my lectures are either assignment workshops or catch ups. Most of my lectures are being carried out using Teams which I find to be great in these circumstances. Lecturers are making content and lecture slides available on the Moodle which is a content management system designed for education.

With lectures being moved online it’s easy to get distracted, especially if you’re at home. I find that having a clean desk setup helps me eliminate distractions. I also make notes using the traditional pen and paper approach as they tend to be useful and help me remember.

How I cope with stress and problems

I am lucky enough to be living at home while I study, so I didn’t face any issues, having to move out.

I tend to have an optimistic approach to issues, I set my mind to think “I’m gonna live through this, tell the kids”. This approach helps me through difficult times.

If I have too much on my mind I tend to write it all down on a piece of paper. That allows me to release my thoughts and relax. I split it up into four mini spider diagrams titled “Stressing me out, Happy, Worry and important”. I also use the Headspace meditation app which is free to me with my Spotify Student subscription – Best £5 per month ever spent”. Headspace also helps me clear my mind, which helps my focus on tasks better. There’s actually a useful Student Playlist.

How am I finding the lock down as a Student?

To be fully honest, in terms of coursework, my life hasn’t changed much, sure we used to hang out in the library completing assignments and studying, we are still doing that, only online using Skype.

My working life hasn’t changed dramatically either, sure I’m working from home for my one day a week IT job, I’m still supporting clients which is what I get paid for. My other part time job hasn’t changed much either, I still go to work normally, making sure to be at least 2 meters away from others and constantly washing my hands. Yes working at a supermarket during the lock down does have it’s challenges but they just need to be embraced.

For me, the only thing that has had an impact is the social side of things, knowing that I will most likely never go back to campus since I’m in my final year.

Have any tips or stories let us know in the comments

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