Tips and tricks for thriving during Covid-19

What a refreshing positive approach to learning and focusing on longer term goals.

Ingrid Rewitzky

Mpoyi Luboya shares his learning journey with mathematics during the pandemic. He kindly offers his experience to others to help them through this novel situation.

Illustration by Nino Mekanarishvili

My name is Mpoyi Luboya and I am a second year engineering student at Stellenbosch University. The pandemic that we find ourselves in has forced us to shift our way of doing things. For me, as one of the luckier university students, this means continuing my studies but in an online format, and from home rather than residence. It also means having to juggle being a son to a mother, older brother to siblings, and anxieties about the future in a different world.

Here are my tips on how to navigate some of the challenges.

Staying focused and organized

Key to staying focused for me is to firstly organizing my space. Make sure you have a desk in an environment where you can work at your best and have all the essential apparatus you need nearby, whether it be the faithful textbooks or coloured pencils. The next key point is to isolate a time period when you are best able to focus; for me this is early morning. Once you have identified that time, go as hard as you can with your studies for that span of time. Often you will find you get more done than you intended.

Advice on Learning mathematics online

Mathematics, as much as it is numbers, also involves language, so don’t be afraid to whip out a dictionary or Google the words you don’t understand. So doing you gain a deeper understanding and a better picture of the content you are trying to master.

It also helps to have multiple accredited resources at hand, as some textbooks might have better examples than others, or may just explain things better.

Finding motivation:

My biggest challenge is motivation. What really helps to overcome this momentous challenge is developing a routine that you can fall back on. Having a structured schedule helps with keeping things organized and it gives the people around you something tangible to hold you accountable to. This works like a charm.

Another way to help with motivation is to think long term. Close your eyes and imagine yourself getting your degree and let that be your motivation. As much as this pandemic has caused a huge disruption, one day it will pass and we will still be here. Why not be here with a degree in your hand and the world at your feet!

Mpoyi Luboya

Second Year Engineering Student,

Illustration by Liani Malherbe

Leave a Reply