School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

Experiences of studying from home - Keep it structured!

Hi, my name is James and I’m a first year Quantity Surveying student alongside playing for the Leeds Rhinos. In this post, I’ll talk about my transition from both studying and working full-time, to studying online with the support of the School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing.
James using practicing using a theodolite

I usually split my time between studying and playing full-time for the Leeds Rhinos. This all came to an abrupt holt in March, when like the rest of the country, I went into self-isolation.

Being a professional sportsman, I’m used to my days being quite structured – often eating, exercising and even sleeping according to what I’ve been told to do. I’ve relied heavily on my tutors and Course Director Joanne Lloyd, to help me manage my studies alongside my work – therefore the thought of being left to my own devices, to finish the academic year at home was a big worry. In reality, it has actually been fantastic! and the ongoing online support from tutors has been invaluable.

I’ve tried to keep my days structured throughout isolation, by getting up at the same time each day, exercising first thing, then getting showered and dressed. That way I’m ready to concentrate on uni work, with less things to distract me. I’ve been trying to stick to a Monday to Friday routine, giving myself a chance for a break on a weekend.

The fact that a number of our lectures are now done via weblink, some even with a choice of time slots, means that I can plan my day/workload accordingly. This method of learning is great, because not only does it ease the pressure of having to ‘teach the subject to myself’, it gives us the opportunity to ask questions ‘in live time’ to the tutor, but also benefit from the questions other students asking. Like many courses, a number of our end of year exams have been replaced with coursework. Tutors have been hosting special online webinars to help with the coursework, making sure we aren’t falling behind. Tutors have even offered one to one sessions to help with any additional questions we have. We’ve even had a telephone call from our Course Director to check that we are doing ok – which was nice!

In a world where technology and social media can often get a bad reputation, I feel extremely grateful that we have the ability to continue to communicate with others around us and finish our studies. It proves social distancing doesn’t have to be anti-social.

James Donaldson


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