Studying mathematics during lockdown

Brilliant advice of creating SMART goals and asking for advice from lecturers and family.

Ingrid Rewitzky

Illustration by Nino Mekanarishvili

Sekwanele Kubheka writes about the importance of creating SMART goals, asking for help and staying healthy while studying from home during COVID-19.

Math is beautiful, expressive and fun. I like Math. “There is no such thing as boring mathematics”, wrote the Dutch computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra.

Our world has been turned upside down. “Normal” is not so normal anymore. As a student myself, I have had my fair share of struggles studying independently online during this lockdown. It took me a while to get into a routine that enabled me to study everything on time and not fall behind, especially when it comes to mathematics. I was a bit overwhelmed during the first two weeks of the second term because everything seemed new. It was as if I had to relearn everything, but this time by myself.  Once I changed my mindset, however, I eventually got the hang of things. Studying at home was and still is a challenge, but it got better when I started to motivate myself rather than just giving up when confronted with a difficult maths problem, thinking  that I would never manage on my own.

Illustration by Liani Malherbe

I have since come full circle and realised that I am solely responsible for my studies. That is why I would like to help fellow students with tips on how to study maths effectively by setting SMART goals.

Firstly, write up a realistic schedule. There are many distractions when working from home, so my schedule is a bit more flexible during the afternoon than in the evening.  I prefer to do more maths later in the day when everyone at home is preoccupied with their own little tasks. In that way, I get to balance my studies and family time.

Secondly, ask for help from lecturers, family and fellow students. Initially I was scared, until I realised that if there ever was a time when I needed help, that time was now. When you become discouraged, make use of the different resources available such as our weekly lecture videos or YouTube videos. This might help to create a classroom environment with which you are familiar with. Lastly, do not overwork yourself. You need to be the healthiest version of yourself right now. Study well and make sure you rest.

Sekwanele Kubheka


by Laylaa Motola
Meme by Laylaa Motola

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