Distance Education has its perks; flexibility with time and location being two of many. However, it’s not uncommon to struggle a little with the flexibility, particularly when you first start out. As a fellow distance learner (7 years of distance University study, plus many online short courses and of course, the Academy Diploma), I have experienced many of the challenges of E-learning, but I have also learnt some things along the way that have helped me to be successful with online study. Here are some of my tips to help you be successful too.
Set a realistic schedule – It’s easy to get excited when you first start a course and that can lead to unrealistic expectations. You want to challenge yourself, but at the same time, don’t establish a study routine that you can’t manage. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed, which could cause you to give up. And we don’t want that!
Ticking off small goals is a huge confidence booster and helps you get focused faster and stay focused. My big tip here is to break up your big goal (finishing the course), into smaller, baby steps.
You need to do what works for you, but I like to take some time on a Sunday to review the week ahead, schedule in my study times and overview the work I want to complete that week. I then set some goals for what I will achieve during my study periods (my baby steps towards my big goal).
Take breaks – We know that you want to power through the course so you can get yourself out there into the big wide world of weddings and events, but too much work and no play won’t get you anywhere. Instead it will leave you feeling tired, run down, unmotivated and uninspired. Give yourself a breather every now and then so when you return to study, you’re refreshed and ready to take on the next unit. Also, schedule social events that you can look forward to, it helps you to remember that you still have a life. You can even use these as motivation, or a type of reward, for completing those ‘baby step goals’ I mentioned above.
Get involved – Studying from home can be quite isolating sometimes, particularly when you don’t have the support from classmates, or a physical tutor. Every student at the Academy has their own personal tutor who will grade their work, provide feedback and offer support and guidance throughout the course and beyond. We also connect you with your fellow students via ‘Academy Live’; our private Facebook group for students and graduates.
Academy Live was launched earlier this year and it grows bigger every day. Excitingly it has become a truly supportive community, for everyone involved. We even hosted Academy Live Christmas Drinks parties this year, which enabled some of our students to meet, face to face and there are more planned for next year. The group facilitates interaction with other likeminded people, who you can discuss course questions with and seek guidance from when it comes to launching your business, or applying for a job. It also gives you the chance to grow together professionally; leading to a terrific support network when you’re working in the industry.
Make connections – Right now it seems that the study won’t ever end, but the day will come when you are handing in your final assignment and off to make your way in the world, either as an employee in the events industry, or a small business owner. Identify who the market leaders are whilst you’re still studying and connect with them(your Tutor and Academy Live can help with this). You might want to offer your services as a volunteer to get a foot in the door, or you may simply want to support them via their social networks. By all means, don’t be a nuisance, but learning from and becoming inspired by those who have been where you are, can give you a well-rounded approach to your career.
Review your goals – Stay motivated by reminding yourself why you took this course to begin with. Find inspiration on a daily basis and stay in touch with what drives you about the industry. It’ll help you keep the end in sight and dull the urge to procrastinate!
Finding ways to stay motivated when you’re studying is crucial to your success in any course. By setting a realistic schedule, taking breaks, getting involved, making connections and reviewing your goals, you’ll be well on your way to getting that qualification and the career you’ve always dreamed of. To find out more about studying online with the Academy, choose your nearest campus from the list below.