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Dear S-Cubie

An advice column by the Student Wellness Team which allows you to write in anonymously and features the hottest topics relating to your student life here at NUS!

Dear S-Cubie 

OSA introduces a new biweekly student advice column featuring the hottest topics that matter to your student life. Get expert advice from our Student Wellness (SW) Team about managing relationships, handling academic pressure to controlling anxiety about your career.

Got questions? Need advice?

Email us at to be shortlisted and featured in our next OSAY! issue. We hope this column will assist others who share the same concerns as you.

Feb 2020

Dear S-Cubie: E-learning blues, how to shake it off?

With the current COVID-19 protocol, I’ve been doing my studies through the e-learning platforms. I find it difficult to stay disciplined completing the webcasted lectures on time. Furthermore, some topics were too difficult for me to follow and I feel lost. I’m feeling more anxious and stressed by the day as my backlog is piling up. What shall I do?"

It sounds like you are feeling anxious about falling behind on your academic and your present study-strategy is not working out well in the current e-learning arrangement. Staying disciplined is important for online learning. Strive to complete all the e-learning topics of the day within the day itself. Treat yourself with a small reward after you’ve completed the work for the day. This can be sweets, an online game or whatever that motivates you. 

Furthermore, when you encounter topics and sections that you are unable to understand, note those questions down. Reach out to your friends who might be able to help explain it. Alternatively, you can always drop an email to your lecturer or tutor for help. Practice getting your doubts and questions cleared within the day itself or by the following day. Once you get into the good habit of completing your learnings and clearing doubts, you will find yourself keeping pace again. Allocate a certain time of the day to work on accumulated backlogs from the weeks past. Dedicate that period daily to focus on addressing the backlogs until all the backlogs are cleared.

In addition, consider finding a study buddy or group. Studying together can motivate each other and help one another clear doubts quickly. Face-to-face lectures and or tutorials are still conducted for some classes, if that suits your learning style better, make the effort to attend them instead.

Remember to give yourself a pat on the shoulder and a small treat daily as you clear the day’s work and backlogs. Also, take breaks in between to recharge. Go out for some fresh air, exercise and connect with your family members and friends throughout the semester. Good luck!

Dear S-Cubie: Group work is so painful, how to make it through?

I’m trying my best to do well for my group project, but my group-mates don’t seem to have the same idea. How can I get my group-mates to contribute their fair share and put in their best effort?"

It sounds like you feel that doing well in your group project is not as important to your group-mate as it is for you. Try the following steps.

First, reflect on your feelings then clarify if your assumptions are true? There is a good chance that getting a good grade is just as important for your teammates as well. If it is not true then you might want to let them know that it is however important for you. Express that you’d appreciate that they put in their best effort as their work matters and it will affect the grade for the group.

Second, understand that students fail to put in better effort because they are lost for ideas, direction or are lacking in knowledge on the topic. At the beginning of the project, identify the goal, direction and outline of the project before segregating the work. Give opportunity for your group-mates to raise up their expected concerns or challenges in their allocated parts before they start embarking on it. Such challenges can be addressed by the group collectively, providing input and advice, so that the team-mate is able to do his or her part effectively. Get advice from your tutors or lecturers too. Help each other to break the barrier that is hindering their work as your group moves along.

Third, cognizant that each individual is different, and might have different working styles. Be open to hearing the difference and find consensus on how everyone would like to approach it as a group.

In summary, clarify your assumption about your team-mates’ commitment, let them know how important this project is for you, address what is hindering them from contributing quality work and set clear expectations to get everybody on the same page. Need more tips? Click here for top 6 quick tips.

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