3 things I have learnt about successfully studying online
During high school, the teacher would be advancing the finer details of a George Orwell novel or Egyptian history and my mind would wander. Hours would go by before the school bell snapped me back into the classroom and I’d missed another lesson.
Perhaps it was this experience that convinced me I was not cut out for University. So, after a decade of work, and staying out too late on a work night, I was anxious when I resumed my study journey – but this time online.
Now, as I approach my graduation, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that I made that choice. Online study is perhaps not for everyone, but it was the right fit for me. I’m at home with all the resources, lectures and materials available for me to digest in my own time and in my own way. And if I’m honest, revisit many times, as my mind still wanders sometimes, only now when it comes back, the classroom lesson can pick right back up where I left off.
So, if you want to make online study work for you, here are my top three tips.
#1 Organise your digital life like it’s your bedroom
Okay, that might sound like a strange suggestion but think about it. If your bedroom is anything like mine it has a wardrobe with a chaotic cluster of clothes, shoes sprawled everywhere and other random items that can’t be physically identified through the mess. When the room is cleaned on those rare blue moons, the oasis that my bedroom should be returns. Think of your digital study the same way. You will have hundreds of readings (your clothes), way too many created folders with to do lists (shoes) and countless other titbits floating around your cyber space. You need to organise your online study in a structured way that suits you. Begin each semester as if it was a spring clean. Name and save the articles you read so you can clearly identify them, create folders with easy to navigate names and an order that you can easily refer too. Trust me, a clean bedroom and a clean online study space both give you the same thing. A good night’s sleep knowing you’re on top of things.
#2 Tap into the support.
You’ll hear online study is all up to you. It really isn’t. You’ve got a whole digital classroom of students with you. You’ve got a lecturing team and dedicated tutors providing you endless reems of study material and a comprehensive support network through a digital campus. While it can feel like every lesson, every article read and every piece of advice from your teacher is a one on one experience directed entirely at you and for you. It will only feel this way if you find the time, dedication and balance to get as much out of the online space as you can, and that involves tapping into the support networks.
#3 Get good at managing yourself
Even with all that support, your success is largely up to you and that comes with challenges. Online study requires dedication, resilience and commitment. You have to learn how to balance your time, stick to your deadlines and prioritise your activities. You will learn that managing your energy and where you invest your energy, will determine your results. I traded my late nights socialising and scraping through the next day at work; for healthier more sustainable choices. Managing sleep – because there will be late nights at times – what you eat, and exercise will help you perform at your best when it comes to your study. If you need help in this area, check out the Griffith Health and Wellness Resources.
By Sam Daniels