Studying from home has its pros and cons. I made the decision to study abroad to get international exposure and experience the unique university life but due to the current situation, I have to accept the fact that I have to study online for one year, which has been the biggest con. I figured that pouting about it won’t work and that I just have to accept that fact and try and make the most of it so here is my experience so far with being an international online CS student.

As an international student I know that I must move to Canada far away from my family, live alone, make my own food, clean my room and do my own laundry. But as I am still living with my family, I can spend more time with them, have meals with them every day, chit chatting and so much more. And the most important thing! I get to eat the delicious food prepared by my mom for one more year until I move out. Another pro is I get to sit wherever I want to watch the lectures and feel generally more relaxed in my own home environment.

Time Management

The biggest barrier as an international student I face is the time difference - Canada is 9.30 hours behind India. So basically, I would have to stay awake all night to attend the classes or do the assignments. But thanks to the asynchronous classes provided by Carleton, I don’t have to do that! I can watch my lectures in the daytime which I prefer rather than becoming a night owl. I found that I am more productive in the mornings so instead of staying up late, I wake up early and get to work. The downside to this though is that if I have any questions about the course or lecture, I have to email the professor or the TA and wait for the reply for 2 or more days due to the time difference which hasn’t been great for me.

Managing my time wisely and staying engaged are very important which I have realised within these first months of university. Time management is a very crucial skill for a university student and honestly, I am still struggling with it. I have wasted hours watching series and scrolling through Instagram, procrastinating and being lazy. Despite that, I am making progress and trying my best to be productive! For example, I use an application called ‘Hold’ which keeps track of my time while studying, blocks all my notifications and tells me how many hours I have been productive in the day. One more thing I have been trying to do is a ‘social media detox’. I am trying to reduce my screen time by trying not to open Instagram or WhatsApp. I even uninstalled Instagram for a week which is my personal record. One thing which helped me reduce my screen time was to unfollow all the celebrities from my social media accounts, making my feed look boring and less attractive. The progress I’ve made has made a lot of impact and helped me focus on my classes. Reducing screen time is the number one recommendation I have for students struggling to manage their time, for sure.


With the workload of being computer science students, maintaining our health is very important. Since the lockdown has started, I am regularly exercising in the morning. I wake up at 6:30 AM every morning and do yoga for an hour and then get started with the work. I’ve been following this routine for 7 months and I feel energetic and ready to start working! In addition to yoga, I also play tennis which helps get my blood flowing and keeps me active.

Another thing I noticed during this pandemic situation is that taking care of your mental health is just as important. Don’t just sit for hours on the computer coding or completing your assignments! Get off the chair, go outside, take an evening walk, organise your thoughts. (Don’t forget to take precautions: wear a mask when you go out and practise social distancing!) Keep in touch with your friends regularly, even for small talk. Taking breaks is very essential; university life even online can be stressful so it’s okay to take days off when you want to freshen up. Start reading books that you enjoy in your spare time like fiction or self-help books which can help you set your goals. I, personally, usually take a day off on Sunday, watch some web-series, or call my old friends and just chill. But by the end of the evening, I start studying so I do not feel too lazy to start my day on Monday.



As I am studying from home, I feel that having a dedicated workspace is an important part of online school. I used to be the kind of guy who was waking up late in the morning and directly going to the laptop to work. But that wasn’t healthy! So instead I created my own workspace apart from my bedroom. I use the guest room as an office because it was just sitting there and no guests are going to come during the pandemic (LOL). I made sure that my desk setup is the way I like it. I connected my laptop to a monitor to avoid eye strain and use it as a dual monitor. I’ve also got a good ergonomic chair to prevent future back pain and all. Having a workspace also motivates you to work harder than just sitting on your bed all day. Always have a bottle of water on your desk to keep you hydrated! Sitting several hours on the chair is also not healthy, so I get up from the chair every hour or so just to stretch my legs and get my blood flowing.


Over the past term, I’ve realised that communication is more important than ever, especially if you are like me and living in your home country and haven’t even met your classmates or professor or TAs. Sometimes during assignments, I felt that I was too stressed out and after reaching out to a classmate, I felt relieved because all that stress and pressure didn’t turn out to be necessary after all. Communicating with your classmates also keeps you in the loop for things like assignment deadlines, extensions and when midterms are preponed. I try to always stay in touch with the professors and TAs and being active in study group sessions by helping out other students because it makes me feel more confident in my understanding too.

I hope that the things that I’ve learned over the last term can help you as much as they helped me. My situation as an international student is a little different from Carleton students in Canada which is why I wanted to write and share my experience. Thank you for reading and best of luck with the Winter term!