PLAYMAKER
The Playmaker
Let's play
PLAYMAKER
  • It's Thursday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Brisbane
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
  • LET'S PLAY
12° & CLEAR SKY ON THURSDAY 19 SEPTEMBER IN BRISBANE
TRAVEL & LEISURE

Five Things to Keep in Mind When You Decide to Take on Part-Time Study

How to become a total boss of studying and working at the same time.
By Marissa Ciampi
July 30, 2019
  shares

Five Things to Keep in Mind When You Decide to Take on Part-Time Study

How to become a total boss of studying and working at the same time.
By Marissa Ciampi
July 30, 2019
  shares

in partnership with

Going back to study part-time can be a daunting process. Learning how to balance work and social obligations can be hard enough without adding in the massive third edge that is a uni course. Studying online with leading Australian universities via Open Universities Australia (OUA) can certainly combat some of the hurdles of juggling work and study — like needing to be in two places at once. However, it's still kind of scary to consider adding more to your already hectic schedule.

But you don't need to jump in headfirst without any help. To give you a deeper insight into how to make your part-time study work for you, we spoke with Sydney career expert and psychologist Suzie Plush. Plush chatted to us about the challenges, hacks and keys to success when considering taking on part-time study. Here's what we found out.

cp-line

Suzie Plush

LEARN THE ART OF THE PIVOT

In a perfect world, your work-life-study priorities would be completely balanced — but we all know that life doesn't work like that. So, to achieve somewhat of a balance, Plush suggests you learn the 'art of the pivot'.

"The concept of the pivot is more around leaning into what the priority is each week. If you're studying part-time and you're working part-time, you might have one week that's really crazy at work — that just means you pivot to focus on work, and then the next week you'll pivot back and do more studying."

The goal here is not to achieve a perfectly balanced schedule all the time. Instead, you 'pivot' toward which is more important. Studying through OUA gives you the flexibility to scale up or down the number of subjects you're taking over the year. So, if you've got a huge project at work, a holiday planned or something else unexpectedly pops up in your life, you decrease your study load during one period and catch up later once things settle down. According to Plush, this can take a lot of the pressure off, because you're "purposely neglecting something rather than feeling like you're dropping the ball altogether."

cp-line

cp-line

PACE YOURSELF AND DEVELOP A GAME PLAN

Taking on too much at once will only lead to burnout. Instead, Plush suggests you pace yourself and focus on chipping away at your studies, rather than take on big chunks of work at once. A successful way to go about this is to develop a game plan early on.

"Instead of procrastinating when you study, it's important to get organised. If you don't feel like studying, get all the dates in your calendar, download all your files and make sure you have a system at home for where you put your notes. So, when you do have that time to study, you don't have to waste it getting organised."

Another study hack Plush recommends is to always take the time to listen to your lectures, as going over those audio files will save a lot of time when you sit down to study later. Having a study system in place is especially key for online work, as you really need to be a self-starter to ensure you don't fall behind.

cp-line

UTILISE THE SUPPORT THAT'S AVAILABLE

When undertaking online study, it is all too easy to feel disconnected and isolated. But those support systems are there — you just need to know how to tap into them. It's so important to take advantage of every avenue of support that is available to you, whether that be chat rooms, forums, study groups or one-on-one teacher assistance.

"You really want to try and build connections with people that are doing the same course as you and are in the same mode. Reach out to teachers as well — if you're doing online study, you may not be super clear on what an assessment is, so asking makes sure you're answering things appropriately. Be assertive and get that clarification and support you need."

To aid with this, OUA gives you free access to a platform called Smarthinking — a tool that offers 24-hour access to qualified tutors. These tutors can help you plan assignments and work through them, too. Plus, Smarthinking tutors can also read through assessments and give constructive feedback before you formally submit them.

Plush says it's also necessary to let your family and close friends know what your needs are and ask them to pick up some slack for you where possible. Managing your expectations and those of the people close to you helps minimise stress in your already busy life.

cp-line

Suzie Plush

PLAY TO YOUR NATURAL RHYTHMS

Whether you're a night owl or an early bird, it's important to notice when are you most productive and play to those strengths. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to balance, work, study and personal commitments. By paying attention to those natural rhythms, you will become your most productive self. It will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and disconnected, too.

"Really leverage your natural state. Are you better studying at night or waking up early? Play to those natural preferences rather than copying what other people do."

Other daily hacks Plush mentioned include trying to incorporate some of your studying into your everyday routine, like listening to lectures on your commute. It helps you make studying part of your day-to-day and avoid procrastination.

cp-line

TAKE TIME TO RECHARGE

With so much on your plate, it can be easy to lose sight of why you went back to study in the first place.

"When it gets hard, always come back to the 'why' of it. It can get you the extra push of motivation and remind you why you're studying in the first place."

But burnouts can still happen, and it is important for you to take time to recharge. Plush recommends spending ten minutes per day on mindfulness exercises — apps like Smiling Mind and Head Space can help you through your meditation. She also insists on staying active.

"I talk a lot to clients about the art of recharging. Even for athletes, it's important to rest. You need to have those two modes and have strategic times of rest so that, when you're going back to studying, you're fresh."

Plush suggests getting outside, into nature and away from screens. Moving your body and raising your dopamine levels gives you a fresh perspective, too. Often we think we're too busy to stop, but that's the most important facet in maintaining a healthy balance.

cp-line

Decided to take on part-time study, but haven't found the right course for you? Explore hundreds of degrees from leading Australian universities — offered online through Open Universities Australia. Hop to it.

Published on July 30, 2019 by Marissa Ciampi

  •   shares
      shares
  • VIEW COMMENTS
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x