Are you thinking about studying this year?
Maybe you’ve taken a step further and you’ve committed to a community services course (and yes, we’re doing the happy dance for you because you’re about to enter the most rewarding profession there is!).
We know the idea of going back to study again, or perhaps preparing to study for the first time ever can be a little daunting. That’s why we’ve created a downloadable ‘360 Degree Study Guide’ just for our community services students, to help you see the finish from the start and get ready to study your community services qualification.
Our study guide isn’t just about how to get gold stars on assessments – we want our students to be as prepared as possible for the brain work, but also for the emotional load and the physical load that study can have, especially when you’re combining study with work, family and other commitments. For us it’s about supporting you for professional growth, as well as personal growth.
So here’s our 360 Degree Guide for preparing to study – and make sure you get our downloadables to help keep you on track throughout your course.
The mental load of study
The first thing everyone thinks about when it comes to study is binders, course handbooks and sticky notes… and while getting your stationery in order might make you feel organised, it won’t do much to help you prepare for the real mental load of study.
It might sound almost ridiculous, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to start out strong and nosedive quite quickly – all through a lack of planning. Log into the Learner Portal early, confront any technology hesitations, and get to know your way around. Look at when your assessments are due and check to see if you have any other events or commitments that will affect when you’ll be able to work on it. Then start early and work consistently through your work, rather than cramming all at once.
The mental load of study is constant throughout your study period, so it’s also a good idea to schedule in some ‘brain breaks’. Take an evening or a morning every now and then where you can take in a bit of Netflix, hang out with your kids, schedule some quality time with your partner, or do something just for you. It could be as simply as reading a book. Whatever it is, make sure you punctuate periods of higher study workload with times where you can take it easy for a few days.
Our ability to focus and work productively is also tied up with looking after ourselves physically. Things like a gentle walk, and getting ourselves into a routine can also help manage the mental load of study.
Looking after yourself physically while studying
It may seem odd to focus on physical self-care when it comes to preparing for study, but it’s important to consider how our physical choices affect our ability to take in and process new information, as well as things like our mood and level of alertness.
When you’re on a roll, it can be easy to forgo things like regular meals, drinking enough, or even getting enough sleep. Yep, we’ve all pulled an all-nighter for an assessment at one time or another, but it’s not a way to function long term. Sleep deficit over time can accumulate and lead to a sleep debt, which has other knock-on health effects. Plan to get enough sleep and you’ll thank yourself (and that series can always wait until tomorrow!).
Health emotions – looking after me and others
The study journey has the potential to be an isolating one. Having extra commitments on top of our usual load, even for a short season, can have us feeling overloaded, overwhelmed, and just… over it.
The trick is to combat isolation before it happens. If your course is being delivered online or via distance learning, connect with others in your location or online who may also be studying. Have a trusted friend or family member in mind that you could talk to if things get too hard, and make sure you have your trainer’s contact details handy so you can reach out if you need to. Remember, we’ve all had moments where it just felt too hard, so you’re not alone if you need to reach out.
Perhaps you’ve got a tendency towards procrastination. If so, spend a bit of time reflecting on that habit before you start your study journey. What feelings do you experience that lead you toward procrastination? Often it can be fears hiding below the surface – fear of failure, fear of what others will think, fear of rejection – and fears can stop us in our tracks. Maybe when confusion sets in your natural response is to freeze up and you can start to feel ‘stuck’. Whatever it is, spend some time thinking about how you can address these issues as they might arise.
What action plans can you put in place so that when you start to experience fear, worry or confusion, you can quickly act to help yourself move through it? Perhaps routine and planning are the key for you. Maybe it’s looking after yourself physically so these feelings don’t have a chance to take hold. Whatever it is, now is the time to prepare.
The finish… and the start
We have incorporated a few more specific tips into our 360 Degree Study Guide – download here and get ready for your best year yet.
Like any other adventure in life, there’ll be ups and downs with study, but if you take in a view of the finish line from the start, and spend a few moments getting prepared, you’ll be much more likely to remain focused and strong when the challenges of study arise.
Remember, we’re always available to help – we’d love to answer any questions you have about studying, or talk through any challenges you’re currently experiencing. Give one of our friendly trainers a call today and let’s talk about your study options.
Over to you
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