Update 7/10/21 – Explored some of the additional benefits someone might get out of joining these sessions.
I’ve been wanting to run these for a while, since I heard about them from a colleague (they are based I believe on Shut Up and Write). So I am very excited to be announcing them for students here at Flinders. 🥂🎆🎉🙌
‘Shut Up and Study’ online virtual study sessions kick off in August 2021 and will run through to the end of the year! 💻
The core concept is simple.
With the increased reliance on online study and more of our student body located away from the main campuses, I wanted to create virtual study sessions that any student (and staff members for that matter) can join in on, feel like they are part of something bigger. It is kinda like studying in the library. You are mostly working on your own, but you are doing so in the presence of others who are similarly working. Depending on which format you pick, there can be some social interaction mixed in as well.
These sessions also provide a useful tool for students who procrastinate, who struggle with ADHD or who find themselves avoiding their studies, as they provide a structured setting in which to develop good work practices. By joining a virtual study session, you are making yourself accountable to others and showing commitment to getting through your work.
There are two formats
1️⃣ Shut Up and Study Classic sessions work as follows. We all gather in the same Collaborate room. We spend 10 minutes connecting and sharing our intentions and goals. Then we work. Silent, but connected by an invisible virtual thread and the knowledge that we’re all doing what we need to do, to build the lives we want.
We then gather again at the end of the silent work period to share our successes, victories or setbacks. I’ve done two of these sessions now and found them to be powerfully motivational. There is something cool about supporting others and in turn being supported to focus in on one’s jobs.
Or to put it another way…………
Sessions run for 90 minutes ⏲
- 10 minutes intro, connect, and all get in the working mindset
- 70 minutes of quiet work (no interaction, but knowing we’re all there)
- 10 minutes of closing statements and chance to share via text/audio chat your achievements, learnings, tasks completed etc
Those 10 minute discussions at the beginning and end of the session always delve into interesting territory. We talk about productivity hacks, the challenges of uni study, the things we are learning. Sometimes I am able to share information about support services or provide resources directly to those in attendance. They operate a bit like a support group might.
These sessions are great for those who can attend the full session and who like a bit of social connection mixed into their work.
2️⃣ Shut Up and Study Drop-in sessions operate a bit differently. A Collaborate room is opened for 2.5 hours and you can come and go as you please. There is a public ‘guest book’ you can sign so you can see what others are working on but also let them know what you are working on. There is a host (me) who you can contact with questions if you have them. We also make some recommendations for good study music/sounds and provide some resources on self-care and productivity that you can download.
These sessions are great for those who aren’t really interested in the social interaction side of things, but like the accountability associated with scheduled study times and working in the presence of others. They are also good for those who can’t necessarily put in a complete 90 minute study session, but would still like to drop-in occasionally (hence their name).
Why do these sessions?
It can be lonely just sitting at home, doing your work. You can be left feeling like you are the only person having to discipline themselves and knuckle down. This feeling of isolation has been heightened by COVID and lockdown and restrictions.
But with Shut Up and Study Sessions, we all link into the same Collaborate room 💻 and take part in a big communal study session. You can get your work done, but also feel like part of a bigger community at the same time.
Some reasons why you might choose to do these sessions are:
- You study entirely online, so don’t get many opportunities to interact with new people.
- You want to develop good study habits and the scheduled nature of the sessions forces you to set aside study time during the week.
- You struggle with ADHD and find it useful to practice disciplining yourself to work in specific blocks of time.
- You want to set aside time each week to do work that is important to you.
- You want to meet other students or staff with a similar interest in increased productivity (particularly the case for the Classic sessions).
- You like the feeling of knowing you are working in the presence of others (much like working in the library).
- You have questions you might want to ask the session moderator (me – Gareth) – relevant to the Drop-in sessions particularly.
- Accountability to others, even in a relaxed environment like Shut Up and Study, can be a source of motivation to get your work done and a good foil to procrastination.
Who is in charge of these sessions?
At the moment, I (Gareth) am running them, but in the future I hope we have varied facilitators running sessions at different times of the day. This would mean we could run more sessions which will help ensure, regardless of your timetable, that there is a session you can attend.
When are they happening?
The full schedule for 2021 can be accessed via this Google Doc – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Q0BzMAIysnn2hZJcaZli0pjwcvOH-4FXCRWRkmdxolw/edit?usp=sharing
It has all the dates/times and Collaborate room links. All you need to do is remember to put the dates/times in your calendar/diary and include the Google Docs link so you can quickly find the room link.
Shut Up and Study Classic sessions happen on Mondays and Thursdays.
Shut Up and Study Drop-in sessions happen on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Sessions will run through the mid-semester break and also during exam weeks.
Who can attend them?
Students are obviously welcome (undergraduate and postgraduate), but also staff – academic and professional.
If you are in the Flinders Community, can attend, and have work to get done – you’re very welcome.
Just try a couple out, see if you like them
You might not think these are your kind of thing, but we encourage you to try a couple out and see how you find them.
At a minimum, attending some of these sessions requires you to schedule study/work time into your day and even if that is the only thing you get out of it, that is a productivity boost.
Based on what we hear from those that attend, they end up being a great way to punctuate the week with quiet focused study.