Becoming a student on top of your already busy life can be wonderful, rewarding, and yes, sometimes stressful. This is especially true for those taking online courses and have to rely on high levels of self-discipline to stay on top of assignments. When things get busy and demanding, you need a way to reward yourself for your hard work and perseverance and give yourself a break both mentally and physically from everything you’ve got going on. Taking time to reward yourself has many benefits from relaxation, to motivation, to giving you renewed energy to tackle your next challenge.
For many adult learners their lives are their first priority and we wouldn’t want to see that change. However, as you do with other life commitments, it’s best to keep a schedule to understand and prioritize your responsibilities and activities.
Whether you use an online system such as Google Calendar or prefer a printed calendar, planner or to-do list, taking the time to plan out your assignments and study times will help you stay on track with your courses.
Use your course schedule to get started and begin mapping out your upcoming assignments including when papers, projects, and forum posts are due. Set aside specific blocks of time each week for studying and eventually these times will become ingrained habits.
When you first begin your coursework, you may not recognize that you’ve added the new role of student to your life. Recognizing and visualizing that you have a new role can help you make time for your studies. In addition, it may be beneficial to set up a support system of people who can help you when assignments are due or life gets busy. Asking your sister, brother, friend or parent to lend a helping hand in some small way may relieve the pressure you feel.
Let your support team know ahead of time that you may need to call on them if times get tough. You’ll likely find that your friends and family are highly supportive of your new role. And don’t be afraid to share your new role more widely in your life. Take pride in yourself, you’ve made an important decision to earn your certification!
Having a space at home where you can study is critical when you take on a certificate program. You’ll want your space to be quiet, have good lighting and offer a comfortable place to read and use your computer. Be thoughtful about where will be best. At times you may find that taking your computer or books to a nearby library or park is great for study. Whatever you choose, stick to it if it’s working well for you.
For most, we’re constantly multitasking, so it’s easy to get distracted when you open up your laptop to do homework. Between incoming emails, social media notifications, and checking in on your favorite websites, there’s always something competing for your attention.