7 January 2021

Although doing a master's during a global pandemic is challenging at times, it's taught us all some very necessary skills in adaptability and resiliency. With semester 2 upon us, it's helpful to reflect back on some of the challenges I and many other masters' students faced in the first semester, and take a look at how we overcame them.
3 of the Biggest Challenges of Studying Online

Challenge: Adapting to Studying Online

With the new hybrid learning style, we all had to get used to more studying from home.

Personalised study space


  • Develop a good morning routine: Get out of bed and get ready for the day, just like you would for in-person classes.
  • Find your study space: If you don't have an actual desk, don't worry; it could even be the end of a table or countertop. Just make sure you use this space only for work purposes. Then organise it to your liking (I like surrounding my study space with cute office supplies and motivational quotes). This will help you feel more prepared and motivated to take on the semester.
  • Listen to music: Listening to studying playlists or watching 'study with me' videos on YouTube can really help create a more focused environment.

Challenge: Keeping Focused and Avoiding Distractions

Similar to the challenges of online learning, without a classroom to report to it can be easy to fall out of a routine.


  • Plan your day: Whether you're using Google Calendar (my personal favourite) or a traditional planner, it's so helpful to write down everything you have to do for the week, and stick to it.
  • Change up your environment: Changing your environment if you're feeling unmotivated or stuck can really help give you a fresh perspective. Even though as I'm writing this we're currently in another lockdown and sitting in at a coffee shop isn't an option, just going for a walk and picking up a takeaway coffee is so helpful for staying motivated.
  • Go to the library: Be proactive and use SeatEd to reserve a few timeslots each week. This will help keep you on track and not leave any assigments to the last minute.

Challenge: Meeting New People and Keeping Connected with Friends

Living in a time where we're required to keep a two-metre distance and wear a mask can make meeting and connecting with new people challenging.

Outdoor walk with coffee in the snow


  • Connect virtually: Instagram, WhatsApp groups, and joining societies can really help you meet like-minded people and build meaningful connections.
  • Go for a walk: If it's possible, go for a socially distanced walk with a friend or classmate (in compliance with the existing guidelines and restrictions).
  • Make regular plans with your flatmates: Even if it's just small plans like taking turns cooking for each other, ordering brunch from Deliveroo, or having a wine night. These can be little things to look forward to each week.
Lauren Maher

Lauren Maher is from Chicago, IL (USA) and is currently working towards an MSc in International Human Resource Management.