It’s no secret that one of the ultimate perks of studying online is the freedom it gives you.
Want to keep your part-time job? Take your kids to the park? Keep going to that gym class you really love on Tuesday mornings? You could do any of these and study a high-quality degree at the same time.
Studying online makes it possible to retain your lifestyle, by giving you the flexibility to choose when and where you study. With no commute, a timetable you choose yourself and the freedom to study anywhere with an internet connection, you’ll be able to structure studying around your life – and not the other way around.
However, with all this freedom, sometimes it can be overwhelming trying to fit everything in. It’s important to remember, you don’t have to do it all.
Here are some of our top tips for keeping a balanced lifestyle and keeping your online study schedule organised:
Create your perfect study space
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to give yourself your ideal study space. As an online student, you’ll need a computer and a reliable internet connection. Before you start your program, write a list of the supplies you might need such as pens, notebooks, laptop, high-speed internet (and snacks too – of course).
If you’re studying at home, one of the best things to do is to separate your relaxation space from your study space. Find a table, desk or chair you love and set up your space. Do you like working near a window? Would you like a standing desk? By creating a designated space, you’ll find it easier to relax and switch off at the end of your study session.
Learn your style of study
As an online student – you can study your way. If you’re not a morning person – it doesn’t matter. You might enjoy relaxing in the morning and studying at night, or vice versa. Try and work out when you enjoy studying, and how you like to do it. Does listening to music help – or is it distracting?
It’s important that you try and allocate time every week to complete your online learning. There will be a recommended number of hours to spend studying per subject, which you can find in your subject information. By setting aside time every week, you’ll stay on top of your work and find it easier to schedule the other activities you enjoy.
Reach out to Support
Although there’s no need to come to campus as an online student, you are never alone. We understand that sometimes life throws unexpected surprises in your direction, or maybe a subject might be challenging, and you need extra support.
Remember that almost everyone encounters setbacks throughout their learning journey – it’s normal and it doesn’t have to stop your progress. Don’t be afraid to use support services. Access our student support team, or reach out to your learning advisors via email. We want you to succeed – regardless of whether you’re needing academic or personal support – we are here to support you on your journey, every step of the way.
You might also require tech support. We are always here to provide advice about the internet, how to use our online learning systems, or to support you if your computer malfunctions. Just reach out to our support team for advice and assistance.
With no one standing over your shoulder, sometimes it can be difficult to jump into your work (especially when Netflix exists…). Thankfully, there’s plenty of tools to help you stay on track. You might like to colour code a schedule, giving yourself plenty of breaks and rewards for doing your work.
If you’re someone that needs more structure, you can use timers and give yourself set hours every day to complete your work. There are heaps of fun ways to stay on track, such as using YouTube to find people who are studying at the same time (it sounds bizarre, but sometimes it can be motivating to know someone else is studying with you). You can install screen timers on your devices to block access to social media applications or other distractions for certain lengths of time.
Try to recognise what works for you and don’t be afraid to ask your peers for advice if you’re finding yourself going off track. Remember that setting too lofty goals will often lead to disappointment, so try and set realistic expectations and find what works for you.
You might find an unproductive morning leads to a productive afternoon.
Remember why you’re studying in the first place
Being a student can be overwhelming at times. If it’s your first university course, it will open a lot of new doors and opportunities for you, which can take some getting used to. Sometimes subjects might be difficult – and that’s ok. If studying was easy, everyone would do it.
No matter where you’re at with your learning journey, try to remember why you chose your course. Think about the exciting career opportunities that await, the sense of achievement you’ll feel upon graduation and how proud your family and friends are of your hard work.
Remember that you’re doing this as an investment in your future – so take things at your own pace. Every week will give you the chance to kick goals, experience new things and learn exciting new concepts. You will be challenged, and you will achieve things you might never have imagined you would. So be proud – and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. You’re exactly where you need to be for future you.