Studying online is becoming an increasingly popular way of getting a degree. If you are thinking of using this route to further your education, then it’s important that you know how to stay motivated in order to stay on top of your studies and eventually graduate with the degree qualification that you want.
There are many benefits to studying online. Students can get their degree from the comfort of their own home and often have a more flexible schedule compared to campus-based students, with often no mandatory classes and lectures to attend at set times but rather the option to view pre-recorded lectures or read course materials in their own time. But because of this, it’s also worth mentioning that it often takes more motivation and self-discipline to get a degree online than you might have initially thought. With no need to go to the campus for lectures, it’s easier than you might think to get distracted and caught up in day-to-day life; finding the motivation to study from home can sometimes be tough. We’ve put together some top tips to help keep you motivated and ensure that your studies stay on track.
Choose the Right Degree for You:
It’s always easier to stay motivated to study something that you genuinely enjoy, so spend some time considering why you want to get an online degree and which subject is going to be the best option for you. There are hundreds of different online degree options available from a wide range of colleges at all different levels, so finding something that you like shouldn’t be an issue; it’s narrowing it down that can get tricky! Consider your reason for getting an online degree; common reasons for students include:
- To improve their career outlook
- To work towards a promotion at work
- To change their career
- Simply because they love learning new things
Think about your personality and the type of career you want to do in the future. Consider your current career, too. If you’re a nurse and really enjoy your work, you might want to consider these DNP nursing leadership courses from Baylor University in order to further your current career and become eligible for nurse management positions in the future.
Plan Your Schedule:
Most students who get their degree online do it alongside working at the same time, and if this is the situation for you then you can expect your schedule to be fuller than usual over the next few years. So, it’s important to create a schedule for yourself that works well to fit everything in while still giving yourself some time off to spend with friends or just relaxing and doing something that you enjoy. You might find it helpful to set aside some time at the beginning of each week or month to plan your schedule in advance; be sure to include:
- Work shifts, if you work various hours
- Assignment deadlines
- Social commitments
- Important work events
- Any other important dates
This will ensure that you have a clear view of the month ahead and you can plan your time accordingly. As an online student, it can be all too easy to forget what you have coming up, which can leave you rushing at the last minute to get everything done. A schedule that you can keep on an app in your phone where you can check it regularly or even a physical schedule on the wall or your fridge that you can see throughout the day will help you make sure that you don’t double-book anything and leave yourself enough time to get everything done.
Taking breaks might seem counterintuitive to staying motivated, but the truth is, working flat-out for extended periods of time is not good for you, physically or mentally. After cramming for hours, you’re likely to be suffering from brain fog and be a little burned out, which is never good when you are trying to stay mentally fresh, motivated, and performing at your best. If you’re sitting at a desk for extended periods of time when studying at home, this can also be bad for your health. In fact, sitting in one place for hours a day has been linked to several health issues including high blood pressure, a higher risk of obesity, and certain diseases.
After around an hour of studying, taking a short break can help you remain focused and is much better for your health. Step outside for ten minutes to get some fresh air, do a little bit of yoga, or go for a brisk walk. Movement is essential if you’ve been sitting in place for a while. It’s good for your body and mind and can give you an energy boost too. Use your break time to grab a healthy snack to eat and refill your water bottle, too.
Create an Inspiring Study Space:
Studying from home is one of the best benefits of online learning. No more long commutes to campus in the morning or turning up to lectures late because you couldn’t find a space to park. But while you might be tempted to get comfortable on the sofa or even stay in bed and study in your pajamas, this can be bad for your health in the long-run and will do the opposite of making you feel productive. The best thing to do is set up space in your home that inspires you to study; turn a spare bedroom or a corner of a room in your home into a study area and invest in a desk and a comfortable, ergonomic chair. Make sure that your space is:
- Free from distractions
- Personal to you
Don’t be afraid to add some personal touches like decorating the walls around you with your favorite colors, hanging some of your favorite artwork on the walls, or placing photos of the people you love on your desk.
Studying from home has brought lots of benefits for students, but it can also be easy to procrastinate and get distracted when you don’t have to go onto campus. Keep these tips in mind to stay motivated and focussed throughout your degree.
Disclosure: This article was written by a guest author.