People pursue online education for lots of different reasons. For some, it’s a way to complete a degree that was cut short; others want to change careers and see learning new skills as a gateway to their dream job. Whatever your motivation, online learning offers unparalleled opportunity paired with convenience and cost-effectiveness.
1. Set a goal
Education is enriching, but it can also be arduous. That’s especially true if you’re trying to juggle an online course with another job or raising a family. There will be moments when the stress begins to build, or you’ll feel that you don’t have the energy or time to complete assignments. Goal setting gives you the motivation to push on.
For example, you might pursue online calculus courses with Straighterline because you want to pursue a new career, perhaps as a statistician or software engineer. Keeping that goal in mind during the more difficult moments will give you the energy to keep going. Let family and friends know about your goal as well. It’s all too easy to get distracted, especially when you’re working from home, but telling the people close to you about your goals will encourage them to give you space, time, and support when you need it.
2. Make a dedicated study area
This might be the most important tip of all. Online degrees are so popular precisely because they’re convenient. There’s no commute to an educational institution, no long hours in the lecture theatre, and no seminars to overrun. Instead, you’ll study purely from the comfort of your own home. That’s great for people with otherwise hectic schedules, but it does present a unique set of problems.
Distractions, noise, and the demands of family can all interrupt your studies. College environments are cloistered and ensure a defined education/home split, but those boundaries can sometimes blur with online degrees. To solve this problem, you should set up a study space in a quiet spot, with your computer and books to hand. Close the door when you’re studying and let everybody else in the house know not to disturb you unless it’s important.
3. Manage your time
Online degrees can sometimes feel like intricate juggling acts. Balancing the degree with pre-existing commitments isn’t always easy, but it’s made all the simpler if you devise a schedule well in advance. Colleges dictate when and where students will learn with fairly rigid timetables. While remote learning is far more flexible, there’s nothing to stop you from imposing some order on the process yourself.
Plan your week in advance, scheduling study time alongside other commitments. Be realistic about the timetable. Trying to cram too much into a week sets you up to fail and can be demoralizing. Instead, make a schedule that you can stick to and then follow through every week. Don’t forget to pencil in some downtime, too. Giving yourself the chance to recharge and regroup will make you more productive when you are learning and do wonders for mental health.