A postcard from a student in China

I’m Siyu, I’m a 4th year Chemical Engineering Student in my final term. But unfortunately, since the start of February, when the travelling ban was announced in response to COVID-19, I have been stuck in China and have been doing online courses for 5 weeks.Image: Shutterstock


The situation of the viral outbreak in China is getting better, but it’s sad to see the number of cases increasing in Australia. Also, the move to online courses has been difficult, although I think as students we are most prepared to work online. Here are my suggestions to stay healthy and motivated when studying alone.


First is we need to adapt to these new norms; we have all had our face to face courses moved online and can no longer hang out with our friends or have parties. We need to keep in mind these policies are to reduce the spread of the virus and the best we can do is to stay healthy, stay at home only going out to buy groceries, frequently wash our hands and not touch our faces. Ultimately these restrictions are temporary.


Second, we need to set goals for ourselves and put good practices in place. When I was in the Fluid and Particle Mechanics course (CEIC2001), I found it was a struggle to cram the night before the exam. It might be even more tempting given these circumstances to be apathetic now that everything is online. Although I think it is more important than ever to have goals for our studies and care for our mental health.


Also, I know it is hard to stay productive when we are alone, and it is easy to be distracted. Here are some of my suggestions, based on my experience of studying from home for the last 5 weeks, such as: 

  • Tidy up your room and desks. Do not study in bed and try to only study at your desk. 
  • Treat study like a business meeting and dress as you were going out.
  • Set a timetable and to do list, stay on track.  Do some exercise at home, keep positive. 
  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions on your Moodle forums, your lecturer and tutors will be there to support you. 
  • Ask a friend who you are comfortable with check in with you and remember to motivate and encourage each other online, even if you are apart.

The current circumstances are a good opportunity to practice our self-discipline and the quicker we build these skills the sooner we benefit. We can all get through this tough period and stay healthy. See other advice on how effectively study from home.


Ensure you check the arrangements the faculty and your school have made in response to COVID-19 here ‘Faculty Transitional Arrangements for Coronavirus (COVID-19)’. 


If you are an international student and confused about accessing the health system in Australia – see more information here. Or need help understanding how enrolment changes affect your visa, reach out to the International Student Advisors and book in an online appointment

For more resources and the most current information, visit UNSW's COVID-19 website.

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