Dealing with the challenges of being an online student

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You may have decided to pursue an online degree so that you can enhance your education, seek a promotion or change careers. However, juggling various competing priorities will inevitably be challenging at times and you may struggle to keep up with the demands of your coursework. How you deal with these challenges will determine whether you succeed in completing your degree and achieving your goals, or whether you let them overwhelm you. Here are some strategies for dealing with the challenges of online learning.

Know your motivation to study

Ask yourself: Why did I choose to do this degree? What do I want to get out of it? Will it help me get a better job in an area I’m passionate about, find a meaningful role where I can help others, or achieve a promotion in my current workplace?

Then take a look at all the other commitments in your life and ask yourself if you can realistically fit your study around them. Is there anything you can cut out of your life to make room for your studies? Asking these questions will keep you focused on why you are studying and help to motivate you to complete your degree.

Reduce stress with cost-benefit analysis to decision-making

Each unit within a Monash Online course lasts six weeks, which means that you have to study smart and manage your time well. Read your unit guide and follow the instructions for your weekly coursework and major assessments so that you don’t increase your stress levels by doing too much. Lisa Burke, Senior Lecturer for Monash Online’s Graduate Diploma of Psychology Advanced suggests using a cost-benefit analysis approach to decision-making in all areas of your life that impact your studies. Instead of studying every reading, video and activity in great detail, study smart by evaluating which are the most important activities and allocating your time accordingly.

Don’t view problems as insurmountable

You will inevitably face some challenges during your online studies, and how you respond to them is important. Instead of getting overwhelmed by immediate tasks that seem unachievable, tell yourself that there is always a solution.

“You can achieve something really great if you just chip away at it. You just build upon things, breaking things down into small parts and not being overwhelmed by something that you thought was so insurmountable that there was no way you were going to be able to do it,” says Ruth Kimpton, Monash Online Graduate Diploma in Psychology Student.

Ask for help

Asking for help when you need it is a key factor in building resilience and getting you through to graduation. Prepare yourself for challenges by knowing who you should contact when you face various issues. Monash Online has a Student Support team that will provide you with dedicated, personalised support throughout your studies. Our friendly team will listen to you, provide study tips and tools, assist with study time planning or direct you to various university support services such as tutoring, counselling, IT support, or FEE-help.

Take time for yourself

Finally, make sure that you take time every week to relax and recharge. You won’t be able to overcome the challenges of completing a degree whilst juggling various other responsibilities without taking care of your well-being. Make sure that you eat healthy meals, exercise regularly, and spend time with your friends and family. Maintaining a well-balanced life will give you the energy, focus and motivation to continue your studies and be a successful online student. Struggling to find time for yourself? Use our online study planner to create a personalised study timetable which will help you to fit your studies around your other commitments.