Enrolling in a degree program can help you build a lucrative career, find challenging work and earn more money. Even for adults already working full-time jobs, it is increasingly common to enroll in adult learning programs that will help you get a promotion and be more competitive. Whether you are enrolling in a program for the first time or aiming for a higher degree, there are many benefits you will enjoy once you complete the program.
Deciding to study can be very exciting, but it can also present a few challenges. The program you enroll in may be challenging, or you may find it difficult to balance your studies with work and family responsibilities. With preparation and persistence, however, it is possible to get the most value out of your program.
Challenges you may face when you enroll in a program
The best way to succeed in your academic goals is by being prepared. Knowing what challenges you may face when you start school will allow you to create a plan of action in advance. In this article, we will discuss a few challenges commonly faced by students when they start school.
- Scheduling challenges
Time is one of the biggest issues that students face when enrolling in a degree program. If you are working full-time and have a family to support, attending school can be even more challenging. The solution is to enroll in a flexible program that allows online learning like an Elmhurst University nursing program. With an online program, you can choose to study part-time so that you can continue to work. If you have an unpredictable schedule, an online program is an excellent option. You can log in to attend classes at your own convenience, which lets you manage all the commitments in life. It is also a good idea to talk to your employer and family about your upcoming studies so that they can shift responsibilities while you focus on school.
- Financial challenges
The rising cost of tuition is a concern for everyone, and financial challenges are very common. Many students have family responsibilities, mortgages and debt. Many students give up the idea of college because of the financial commitment it requires. Fortunately, there are many affordable programs available as well as flexible ways to manage education expenses. Usually, online programs are more affordable than traditional colleges. You may also be able to apply for financial aid to offset the costs. In addition, some employers and institutions offer tuition assistance that can help you cover the cost of college.
Tips to help you motivate yourself for studying
While time and financial concerns may be your main concerns, you may also find yourself unmotivated to study once you are enrolled in the program. Taking that first step is challenging, but there are many ways you can motivate yourself so that you can be productive.
- Handle procrastination
Procrastination is one of the biggest challenges students will face. There may be many different reasons why you put off studying. You may find a particular topic boring, you may be overwhelmed with responsibilities, you may find a subject too challenging or you simply may be waiting for the perfect time to start. Think about why you tend to procrastinate so that you can find a solution to your problem. Reflection will help you come up with effective strategies so that you can always put in your best efforts. The biggest challenge you face sometimes is taking that first step. If you feel unmotivated, start with just five minutes of study. You can stop working after five minutes if you still don’t feel like studying. In most cases, you will continue to study once you take that first difficult step.
- Divide your work into bite-sized chunks
You may find a particular topic challenging or overwhelming and put off studying it until later. A better way to handle the situation would be to break a complex topic into smaller chunks. Work on one or two chunks at a time. When you break down a large task into smaller parts, it won’t feel so overwhelming. You will be able to easily handle reading one or two pages a day instead of reading an entire book at once.
- Find the right reward for yourself
Find things that motivate you to work harder. Every time you complete an assignment, a reading session or a particular task, reward yourself. You may enjoy going out for a walk, relaxing in a bath, eating a bar of good-quality chocolate or watching your favorite TV show. Having set rewards for yourself will motivate you to keep going. It will also provide you with a much-needed break.
- Have a set routine
Once you enroll in a program, the first thing you should do is set up a routine for yourself. Developing good habits will help you keep up with your class. Habits can be very powerful, so once you have a set routine, you will no longer have to motivate yourself to study. It will take time to form a habit, so it’s important to commit to following your new routine at the beginning of term.
- Have a clear idea of your reasons to graduate
Knowing why you are studying and what you plan to accomplish by graduating is an effective way to stay motivated. You may want to excel in your course so that you can pursue a lucrative career, or you may want to earn a degree to develop your professional skills. Make a list of your reasons and place it somewhere where you will be able to look at it every day. This will keep you motivated.
- Stay organized
Follow some organizational techniques to stay on top of your studies. Use a planner, a simple diary or an online app to create to-do lists. You can also create summaries of the topics you are studying. This will help you organize the information you are learning and process topics easily. It will also help you retrieve information learned so that you can increase your productivity.
- Find ways to make difficult subjects interesting
One of the reasons why you may be unmotivated to study is because you find a particular topic challenging or boring. When you find yourself in this situation, try to find ways to make the subject more engaging. Ask questions, participate in study groups or turn a subject into a series of challenges to keep things interesting.
- Avoid memorizing facts
To succeed in any academic course, it is important to truly understand a subject and not just memorize facts. When you memorize a topic without understanding it, you may not be able to recall important details at a later time. Understanding the principles of a subject and how to apply them in real life will help you not just in school but also beyond it. Developing a deep understanding of a topic is also more rewarding and will help you stay motivated. Another great way to deepen your understanding of a topic is by talking about it with someone else. When you try to explain a complex topic to another person, you will realize if there are any gaps that you need to fill.
- Study in short sessions
Instead of studying for long periods of time without taking a break, study in shorter chunks. This will help you memorize and understand topics better. This study approach will also provide you with enough breaks so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. The Pomodoro technique is a great way to do this. With the Pomodoro technique, you can choose a set duration of time and study with concentration. Once the timer rings, you can take a short break and then continue to study again. After four sessions of studying, you can take a longer break. The right time management system can help you achieve a lot more in a shorter amount of time.
- Don’t rely on motivation alone
If you wait until you are motivated to study, you may not get much work done. Understand and accept that you may not always feel motivated. You will have to develop a routine and structure your day in such a way that you don’t rely on motivation. The right system can help you get the work done even when you are not motivated enough.
Instead of focusing on the result of all your hard work, think about the process. Do not worry about the result and take things one step at a time. Focus on developing a good study routine and sticking to a schedule. If you complete your planned tasks for the day, you are doing enough. When you focus on developing a good process and sticking to it, the results will always follow.
- Support brain health
Look after your brain health to develop good focus and stay motivated. Our brain is like a muscle and needs to be trained to make progress so that we can tackle complex problems easily. There are several ways to train your mind through journaling, puzzles, reading and even apps and websites that provide brain games. You also need to get a good amount of sleep every night to allow your brain to rest and recover. Ensure you are eating nutritious food so that your brain can function properly. Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids into your diet, like salmon, avocados, berries and pumpkin seeds.
- Time management
Develop good time management skills so that you can stay committed to studying as well as your other responsibilities. Learn to say no to things that are not on your priority list. Create a detailed study schedule with lists of tasks to be completed for each subject. Use a calendar to block out study times where you will be able to study without interruptions. Have a daily plan and to-do list so that you know exactly which tasks you need to accomplish on a particular day. Once a week, review your progress and adjust your schedule accordingly.
- Consider group study
If you are feeling unmotivated to study on your own, think about group study. Find a group of students that you feel connected with and who are equally motivated to succeed. Group study can be fun and effective. It keeps everyone in the group accountable and motivates them to do better. You can discuss topics and subjects, compare notes and encourage one another to form better, more productive habits. Everyone in the group will have different ways to tackle difficult subjects. Working in a collaborative environment will allow you to learn something new and develop a better understanding of topics.
- Try to apply the knowledge you learn in real life
A great way to make the most of the knowledge you gain in a class is by applying it in real life. When learning about a new topic or concept, you can only learn so much by reading and memorizing. Try to integrate the concepts you learn with real-life experiences to gain a deep understanding of the topic. Think about how you can apply the knowledge you learn in real life. Write case studies, discuss the topics you learn with other students and participate in group projects. You can even do case studies and make presentations on the topics you learn to retain as much knowledge as possible.
- Make time for relaxation
Having goals in life is important, but it is equally important to take breaks, relax and enjoy your life. If you do not take the time to relax, you may not be able to absorb the topics you learn about. Relaxing activities will provide you with the time you need to recharge your energy and refresh your mind, which in turn will make you more motivated to learn. There are several things you can do to relax, such as going out for a walk, sitting in a park, listening to calming music and meditating.
- Focus on physical and mental health
When you are busy juggling between studies, work and family, it may be easy to slip into inactivity. You may not have time to exercise or eat well. Your mental and physical health is one of the most valuable resources you have. Try to block out time in your schedule for regular exercise. Set aside 30 minutes each day to exercise so that you can stay healthy and feel strong enough to manage all your tasks for the day. You can do exercises like walking, running, swimming and weight training. Eat nutritious, whole foods that support your physical health.
You will also need to pay particular attention to mental health. Many students face challenges such as burnout, exhaustion and anxiety because of the workload, deadlines and assignments. If you are struggling to feel motivated, it might be best to talk to friends and family. You can also seek professional help to deal with the challenges you are facing. Good physical and mental health will support you during your academic career and help you achieve good grades.
- Eliminate distractions
One of the biggest challenges we all face today is constant distractions. With instant access to news and continuous notifications, it is easy to be distracted and feel unfocused. Think of all the things that may shift your attention while you study and create a plan to eliminate them. Turn off your phone, mute your notifications or put your phone in a separate room while you study so that you won’t be tempted to check it. If you are working on a computer, ensure that it doesn’t have any games installed on it. Have a quiet, dedicated space for you to study so that you will be able to focus better.
- Use visualization techniques
An effective way to motivate yourself to accomplish a difficult task is using visualization. This technique is used by sports professionals to rehearse challenging tasks. Close your eyes and envision yourself completing a particularly difficult task successfully. When you do this repeatedly, you will find it easier to complete that task in real life. Before you start a study session, take a few moments to visualize yourself accomplishing your tasks for the day. This will give you a burst of motivation.
Studying can seem like an endless process with no end in sight. When you are feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, remind yourself of the reasons why you are studying. Realize that you will not always be a student and learn to enjoy the process along with its frustrations and challenges. Soon, you will be completing your exams and graduating and will look back fondly at the time that has passed.
Staying motivated throughout your degree course may be challenging. To succeed, you will have to come up with tried and tested systems and routines that will help you study even when you are not motivated. If you organize your time well and continue to stick to a schedule, you can get a lot of work done. Having the right mindset, knowing what challenges can arise and having the willingness to tackle problems will set you up for success not only in school but also in your career.