More and more mature students are going back to the lecture halls to learn new skills, switch career lanes or just to advance their education. It takes courage, effort, determination, time and motivation to enlist for college, or university as a mature student.
Studying can be a daunting experience for any student let alone a mature student. Yes, when you are older you have more life experience, but you also have a lot more daily responsibilities that eat into your time, if you let them.
In 2016 I commenced a part-time degree at the local university, on the first day I felt way out of my comfort but it didn’t take long to adjust. Meeting new friends and learning the requirements of what university study entailed helped too. Then in 2017 while looking to work from home, I came across an educational program that teaches how to market and sell products online, be curious I signed up and have now been studying both at university and from home around part-time employment.
Here are 5 tips on how to create effective study habits as a mature student.
Plan your time.
Better time management is one of the best strategies to improve study habits for mature students. Juggling studies with family, work or social commitments among other responsibilities can be overwhelming for many mature students. Luckily, with better time management, nothing is impossible.
Start by planning your time well to ensure that you can balance your books and other commitments without stressing yourself.
Consider preparing a weekly/monthly timetable indicating all your classes, list work commitments and mark all-important family/social events. I like to use a method known as time blocking. It is an easy system to use and great to stay focused if you turn off distractions.
When you have good time management it is possible for you to study effectively and at the same time attend to your other commitments stress-free.
Related post: 7 Simple ways to structure your day for productivity.
Learning to focus on study. As a mature student requires one to get rid of all distractions when studying. Distractions can be in the form of your television, music system, emails, phone calls, friends, family, intruding negative thoughts or pending projects. To achieve your goals, consider getting rid of all distractions by switching off your electrical devices, or finding a quiet place to study undistracted.
Develop a network.
Developing a solid network of acquaintances and friends can lead to successful studying for mature students. Hanging around other mature students will make you feel more comfortable, supported and stable. Take advantage of your numbers to discuss assignments, tackle problems/ projects or share lecture notes among other things.
Forming a network of friends to study with is one thing that really assists not only with university study but also with my online business study in affiliate marketing. To be able to discuss tasks, and outcomes and bounce ideas off each other is valuable. I always enjoy having a coffee at the student library cafe with my peers as we share and brainstorm ideas and concrete steps to take in assignments and projects. I also enjoy networking with fellow marketers and sharing tips and strategies.
Ask for help.
Don’t hesitate to say; help I’m returning to study as a mature student. Let others know that you will need their full support in order to achieve your academic dreams. You might need help with other responsibilities such as childcare, school pickups or drops among other things. Solicit help from your family members, colleagues, and friends for effective learning.
I’m fortunate to have help at home as Carsten works from home and Rachael and Jason are not young children anymore. Everyone in the family helps with cooking, cleaning and errands especially when I’m stressing over assignments or dropping onto an on-line webinar.
Going back to school is about learning new things, improving your thinking and expanding your knowledge. Don’t compare yourself with others by setting unrealistic expectations. Unlike your younger classmates, you probably have other commitments. While wanting high marks on all your papers is not wrong, having very high expectations can cause frustration, anxiety, stress or even depression.
Related post: 8 Tips to set and achieve your goals.
Effective study habits for mature students include;
- Planning your time
- Removing distractions
- Networking with others
- Asking for help
- Adjusting expectations
Additional habits include; Taking risks and engaging in discussions, breathing, relaxing and staying calm, all the mindful habits. Most importantly enjoy your learning.