27 May 2020

Staying Happy and Motivated While Studying Online | Study With New Zealand

Cindy Wang
PhD student in communication

There are so many things international students can still use from the COVID-19 lockdown to make sure you are happy and motivated.

Everything I learnt during lockdown is still useful as we move towards our ‘new normal’. I feel grateful for having so many people who connected virtually together and supported each other.

Even though lockdown is over, everyone needs to keep social distancing and stay safe. But most importantly, I encourage you to continue to be active and stay mentally connected.

Here are some of the things I learnt that can still help to keep you connected as you continue your studies online.

1. Academic staff from universities

Every university has provided academic staff and specialised people to help students during COVID-19 and as we move out of lockdown much of our learning will continue to be online.

For PhD students, my supervisor is essential, as she is the person who offers educational guidance on my research topic. Therefore, the weekly meeting with my supervisor via Zoom is one of my most important tasks, so I know whether I am on the right track or not on my PhD journey.

Besides your supervisor or teachers, universities also provide other essential resources for students. For example, at my university, the library offers online academic writing consultants, online career hub advisors, and virtual coffee with the graduate research school officer. There are also many useful workshops available online, which helps your study and assessments.

2. Use social media to stay updated

I cannot imagine what would have happened if we hadn’t had social media during the lockdown. You can continue to stay in touch and make sure you follow the related social media: your university’s official account, Study in New Zealand account, student association account, and New Zealand immigration account.

The internet and social media allow us to get information much more easily today, and everyone can get timely messages and information quickly.

The Les Mills and AUT gym had virtual classes on their official social media accounts to encourage people to be motivated during lockdown. The university also provided virtual meditation classes to students. Many of these are now back up and running in face-to-face sessions, and some will continue online.

Staying connected on a Zoom call

3. Shut up and write group

You may think that writing is an easy job for a PhD student, but getting started with a book is a hard job for every student.

The Shut up and write group use ‘the Pomodoro technique’, which is a popular time management method, traditionally 25 minutes in length, but sometimes variable to 45 minutes instead. The primary purpose of using this technique is to concentrate on your work. Peers share their stories, what they have done, and what makes them feel confused during the break time.

4. Toastmasters group

Toastmasters is an organisation that aims to improve public speaking. My Toastmasters group changed the offline meeting to an online session, and members supported each other with speeches and spreading inspiring ideas, which helped me to keep motivated.

Because the online meeting does not have restrictions on location, I even participated in several meetings in my home country and participated in the online speaking contest.

There are so many things you can still use from the lockdown time to make sure you are happy and motivated. Your and your wellbeing are still your #1 priority.

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About the contributors
Cindy Wang
PhD student in communication

Cindy Wang, from China, is studying PhD in communication at Auckland University of Technology. Cindy Wang was working as a TV presenter, journalist, social media marketer in China, Australia, and New Zealand.