20 January 2021Share
For international student Micah Suba, the temporary changes to classes due to COVID were unexpected. With face-to-face classes temporarily cancelled, she needed to adapt to online classes and - maintain her academic focus.
“Motivation was a big challenge for me,” says Micah, currently in her second year of nursing at ACU Brisbane.
Micah decided to change her approach: she started focusing instead on how to incorporate her hobbies into her day-to-day study schedule.
“I decided to build a habit of doing at least 25 minutes of reading or studying and then rewarding myself five minutes’ break of dancing to music, which I love,” she says.
This technique of 25 minutes on, five minutes break, is known as the Pomodoro technique. It’s an approach to time management that helps users conquer a task in a series of small bursts.
But for Micah, using the Pomodoro technique didn’t just help her get through her coursework – as it turned it, the technique was central to helping her shift her mindset when it came to online study.
“In doing this every day, I realised I’ve built a good habit and was able to discipline myself,” she says.
Like most students who were far from home during the COVID-19 shutdowns, Mica missed her family -. Maintaining regular contact with loved ones became an important part of her routine, particularly on days that she needed emotional support.
But her family wasn’t her only source of support: ACU rolled out a series of academic, financial and general support services for international students that included regular check-ins from student advisers and access to free phone and online counselling sessions.
For Micah, whose family faced financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 restrictions in her home country, the Philippines, ACU’s emergency grants and loan schemes helped her continue her studies with no interruptions.
“I also received support from my professors reassuring all of us that everyone is experiencing the same thing and we are not alone,” she says.
These experiences only strengthened Micah’s belief that choosing to study at ACU was the right decision. Initially, she says, she was compelled to study at ACU because of the university’s reputation for high-quality nursing degrees – and when she arrived at the lush, green Brisbane campus, she was thrilled by what she saw.
But it was once she started her degree that she realised the campus itself wasn’t the biggest drawcard. It was the small, tight knit community that made ACU Brisbane something truly special – international students are known to teaching staff by name, rather than by student number, and a wealth of support services and social activities gives all students the opportunity to make the most out of their ACU experience.
“ACU welcomes international students with open arms,” Mica says.
“I never felt alone.
“The culture here is really heart-warming; people will try to help you as much as they can because they know that you’re struggling and they want to lift you up along with them.”
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