Access to HE: The next steps to University

At University

Juggling life and study as a Mature Student

Starting your study at a University or going back into it as a mature student is not easy. But it is never too late to learn something new to further you career or transform it completely. Believe it or not – being an adult learner is not as scary as it sounds! Millions of people, including our own mature students, have all been there. They challenged themselves and succeeded.

If you are a working adult with full time family commitments, juggling study with work and personal time is sometimes easier said than done. However, this shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goals. You can still succeed in your degree, and we are, and we are here to support you along the way.

Here are 7 Tips collated by one of our mature students to help you balance your personal life and studies:

N1. Be Realistic

If you are working full time it would make more sense to choose a part-time or distance learning study option (if your chosen course allows it).

Benefits: You can take a longer time to complete your qualification which will allow you flexibility in balancing study and other commitments.

Things to note: Distance learning requires a lot of determination and self-discipline. Without the incentive of lectures everyday it’s easy to let your studies fall by the wayside. Thankfully there is lots of support should you need it!

N2. Inform your employer

Backing from your employers is crucial. If your employer is a bit hesitant, then try being open and honest about the benefits your new qualification will have for them. Getting their support will make you much more likely to succeed.

N3. Schedule is the key

To do well and avoid unnecessary stress, it is important to get organised and plan your time well ahead. Try using one calendar for the work, study and personal commitments. That way it is practically impossible to miss anything and easy to keep on top of it all.

N4. Say no to procrastination

Adopt a mature attitude to studying and how to approach it. Do not wait for big chunks of time to get things done. Taking advantage of the short pockets of time available after work – sacrificing your favourite TV show once in a while could save you from the perils of procrastination.

N5. Sleep, be healthy

We all need different amounts of sleep, but getting what your body considers to be enough sleep and rest is extremely important for your productivity! Researchers have found that tasks that require attention, like reading, writing an assignment and getting ready for the exam, are severely affected by the lack of sleep. One study found that one sleepless night contributed to a 20-32% increase in the number of errors made by surgeons, not to mention students and the quality of their coursework!

N6. Set yourself up a quiet study haven

Whether it is a corner in the spare room at home or your favourite coffee shop, finding a study space that works for you will make your learning experience fun and productive. Whether you are naturally a tidy person or prefer working in a “creative chaos” environment, embrace whatever works best for you.

N7. Study hard – play hard!

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Everyone needs to declutter their mind and distress at some point… it’s important to celebrate milestones! Reward yourself for completing set study goals, like submitting an assignment on time, or ahead of the deadline, or getting a good exam grade. Have a weekend off from studying, go out, enjoy the fresh air, spend time with your friends and family, catch up on your favourite TV shows (the ones you have sacrificed for studying), and pop down the gym for that workout you’ve not had time for. And then, relaxed and refreshed, take on the new challenge…


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