Success as a student


Managing yourself for study – Success as a student.

We all desire success when commencing a new study. This blog is the first in a series that will provide more insight into getting the best out of your study.

What is expected of you?

In vocational and higher education, there is more freedom of when and what time you learn – however, this also means you need to have more determination, persistence and self-discipline. That last one especially. You need to be independent – which includes looking for your own answers instead of asking the course facilitator or lecturer. Be self-motivated, organised, goal-orientated, and open to group work. You need to figure out how you learn best, and how you study best. This could be at a particular time of day, in a certain space, with or without music, etc etc. It’s also helpful to make goals and keep track of due dates. I find this works best for me with a monthly calendar and a whiteboard to write the weeks priorities. You are expected to manage your own time and life, which often requires a bit of organisation.

How vocational and higher education differs from previous levels?

The teaching methods are different, with you partly being responsible for your own learning. The work is harder, more complex, and takes more time – which makes time management is essential. Lecturers/tutors will encourage debate and self-research, but ultimately, it requires you to be open to new learning opportunities, and take some initiative with your own education. You will find that a lot of the material and content requires you to be tech literate.

How to make the best of the experience?

Studying in vocational and higher education, it may feel like you have more time, more choice, but you also have more control, more responsibility, and less guidance.

To make the best of the experience, you will need to learn some new skills (some mentioned in the “what is expected of you” section). Self-discipline and time management are the most critical student skills. Building your self-discipline, i.e. the thing that makes you sit down and finish the reading or assessment instead of bludging or going out, will enable you to stay on top of work and meet deadlines. None of which can happen if you aren’t organised, and don’t manage your time well. The best thing to do is to write out all the due dates, and plan some time in the weeks before to get the work done. Once you get the hang of it, you will find student life less stressful – and you may even have a better study-life balance.

How to build resilience as a student to maximise success:

Resilience helps you manage when study and life gets stressful and tough. Starting a vocational or higher education course can feel like a lot of change, but have confidence in yourself. When you are challenged, it is resilience that makes you push back. Key skills that aid resilience are; motivation, perseverance, routine, perspective, problem solving and stress management.

Other things to consider are:

  • What success looks like for you?
    • what makes you feel successful
    • realistic goals
  • What are your anxieties and resources?
    • stresses, pressure
    • family, friends, college or university student services, experience
  • Student relationships that are beneficial for both parties
    • study buddies
    • going to class together

 

Inspiration taken from ‘The Study Skills Handbook’ by Stella Cottrell, 4th Edition.

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