Undertaking an online study program can be a big commitment. It is likely to take a few months or even years to complete your course and although you know it will be worth it in the end, there are bound to be times when you feel under pressure or lack motivation. At those times, it is going to be important to have a team of people in your corner to give you the help and encouragement you need. Here is a guide to help you recognize where to go for support when studying online.
At the beginning of the course, you should be assigned at least one tutor to help you with your studies. Depending on the course, you may have to attend online or in-person lectures with your tutor. You will probably have to submit and discuss assignments with them. Your tutor should be the person you go to if you have a question about your course, whether something doesn’t make sense, or you wish to gain a greater understanding of a part of your syllabus. Your tutor can be a great help to you with technical information. It is their job to make sure you pass the course, so don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to.
A good online course provider, such as Saint Bonaventure University, will be able to offer you a lot of help outside of that available from your tutor. This can be invaluable to you when studying online. A good online provider should be able to offer you help from a student success coach who will make sure you have all the information and tools you need to be successful. In addition to this, your online course should give you access to library services, where you can get help with your referencing needs, speak with technical assistants for those times that you can’t get your computer to do what it needs, as well as career advice, such as how to write a resume or how to answer difficult questions in an interview. This team of people will help you make the most of your online learning experience. Don’t forget to find out what support is available to you before you start the course as this could make the world of difference to your grades.
You should find that your course has an online community of your fellow students. They may not be all at the same part of the course as you are, but they will be able to give you help and advice about anything you find difficult, and they will be a great bunch of people to discuss the syllabus and bounce ideas off. They are also a great source of empathy as they have hard days and deadlines too and they will know how difficult it is to combine online studying with other commitments. Join the online community for your course as soon as you sign up for it and you will find your journey even more rewarding. You may even get to make some lifelong friends.
Your Existing Workplace
Your existing work can be a fantastic place to go for support, especially if you are studying for a work-related qualification. Speak to your HR department to see what help might be available to you. Depending on the company, they may be able to put you in touch with study groups or colleagues who have been through the same course. Some companies may even offer in-house training or time off work to study for your course if they want you to get the qualification.
Friends and Family
Don’t forget that your existing friends and family can offer you a lot of help and support. They may not be closely involved with your online learning journey or its course content, but they will be able to offer you a sympathetic ear when you are feeling stressed, motivate you when you are feeling like giving up, and offer you practical support such as babysitting or cooking dinner too. These are the people who know and understand you the best and they will be able to help you with the emotional and practical help you need while you are completing your online studies. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for support. You can always show your gratitude by throwing them a big party to help you celebrate your success once the course is over.
Look to yourself to provide the support you need when studying online. This may seem a little odd, but most people are their own worst critics and biggest enemies. However, you are the one who is going to be completing your online course and you know yourself better than anyone else does. Congratulate yourself on a job well done – many people never begin an online study journey, so to get to the start line is a big achievement. Don’t beat yourself up about the things you haven’t done; instead, aim to get a little better every day and recognize when you need to take a break from studying and go and do something else instead.
Studying online can be stressful but there are some things you can do to help alleviate the stress. Make sure you eat healthily and get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Food such as oily fish and nuts can be excellent for the brain and help you retain information. Don’t stay up too late studying as this will upset your natural sleep pattern and make you feel too tired to study. Instead, aim to get up an hour or two earlier in the morning and use this time to study. Look after yourself by getting enough exercise as this will improve your focus and concentration. Activities such as yoga will also help you to relax and unwind.
Look to these people for support when you are studying online and don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. One day you may be able to pay it forward and act as a study mentor for someone else.