When life throws you a curveball
When I first began studying online, I had no idea what I was in for. Now that I have completed my degree, I realise how much I have changed, learned and accomplished. My online study journey was not always easy though. Juggling studying online with life as a young mum was challenging and staying motivated was tricky at times. But when life throws you a curveball, know that you can continue studying anyway.
To me, family comes first. Always. So, when a family member abroad became ill, I packed up my things and flew across the world to support them. I was living in a completely new country, speaking—or rather trying to speak—a completely different language and eating completely different food. I took very few things with me, but one of the easiest things to take was my study.
In the chaos, continuing my studies gave me structure. Albeit, I had to create that structure and find ways of managing my time both whilst caring for my family member and later when my time overseas turned into touring Europe. I recall studying on train rides, in hotel rooms, hostels and parks across Europe. I would log into my course sites from libraries in Paris to Prague, join the discussion board and download videos from free Wi-Fi locations to keep up with my class schedule.
I know to some this sounds hectic and to others unbelievably amazing. What I learnt from the experience was:
Time management is key
Set a schedule for your course noting assessment dates and work backwards with key activities to be done beforehand. Always write everything down in a planner. I know a lot of people can operate with this on their computer or online calendar, but having a visual reference was critical for me. If you haven’t already, try the Griffith Study Planner to create a structure to your week. Don’t leave things until the last minute—you might miss out on exciting opportunities in order to finish an assignment on time.
You’re the boss
You’re in charge of when and how the work gets done. You’ll have deadlines for your assignments and you’ll have a plan outlined for you to follow. How and when you do those things is up to you. This means you can weave your study plan in with your other choices like travel, family or work. However, the responsibility for ensuring it gets done is yours, and yours alone.
You won’t do it alone
Get support when you need it and use all the resources available to you. Griffith provides heaps of resources including health and wellness, counselling and peer mentoring services that can help in these times. Build your connections with other students to talk through what is required, any troubles you’re having and provide support to others. I also lent on my personal network of friends and family for support.
My online study experience was definitely an adventure. It gave me the freedom to travel and be with my family at a time when they needed me. It helped me to know myself, my own abilities, strengths and weaknesses by helping me to build confidence and resilience. Having come towards the end of this journey, I can finally say I did it, and you can too. I feel proud of myself for completing this chapter of my life and excited about my future.
By Sophia Dmitrichenko