Mature Students – 2 of the biggest challenges of getting back to school

I recently celebrated a birthday, and, in my melancholy, I got a little philosophical and started to think about growing old, achieving, or failing to achieve milestones, etc. You get the picture. Then I started thinking about our students, and I can honestly say they inspired me to write this blog. A majority of our students are mature students, and they choose to challenge themselves by doing a master’s degree.

A master’s degree is a challenge by itself, and added to this are the additional challenges that most mature students face, and I just have one world for our students – RESPECT!

RKC Graduation 2018 @YorkStJohn

I want to start this blog with the preface that I know there are a lot of challenges mature students face when they get back to studying. And I am not saying that any of the other challenges mature students face are not worthy of being considered a “big” challenge; one person’s Everest might be another person’s molehill, by which I mean for each of the challenges we face are the biggest and the only ones that matter.

This blog is about the two most significant, most common challenges faced by mature students, in my opinion, based on what I have seen, heard, and researched. They are –

  1. Job
  2. Family

I consider two other challenges equally important; I find that they are deeply integrated into the above two “big” challenges, so I am putting them in a subcategory. They are – time and finances.

Job

Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

There are several reasons what one might decide to a master’s degree late in life.  One of the worries most people would naturally have when they choose to get back to studies after a break is how they will manage work and study at the same time? The fact of the matter is it is not going to be easy! Most of us are set in our ways and have a routine that we are used to, and as human beings, we do not like change.

But you decided to do a master’s degree for a reason. Either you are not happy with the job that you are doing and want to change to a career that gives you fulfilment, or you are among the lucky few that have found a career that gives you job satisfaction and are looking for a leg up either in terms of academic knowledge or padding your resume to provide you with an edge in your next appraisal cycle.

So, keep this in mind the next time you feel down and stressed. Yes, it will be hard, and you will have to make changes to your schedule to work in a daily study time. You will have the challenges of completing assignments on time and doing research. But you will learn from everything you do, and things will improve.

Family

Family time. Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

Family is another aspect of your life that will be impacted by your decision of going back to school. And for those of you who are single, with minimum family responsibilities, family for you here means your social life (friends). You will have to make sacrifices; you are working towards earning your master’s degree! Keep in mind, a little hardship and sacrifice can result in great rewards in the future.

Work with your family, explain why you have decided to get back to studying and how you plan to change your schedule. Don’t sugarcoat it, tell them it will be hard, and your time will not be your own, but it will be only for a short time and will be worth it in the long run. It might surprise you how supportive your family can be, and you will require their strength and support when you get stressed.

The other challenges

Finance

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

Time to tighten your belt and cut down on frivolous expenses. Doing a master’s degree can be an expensive prospect, especially if it is from an accredited, globally recognised university. Noting is free, and anything worth getting will cost. You get what you paid for! Budgeting for the additional expense of a master’s degree will have an impact on your lifestyle and family. It also brings into focus the importance of having and keeping your job. But if you plan and start budgeting early, it can be done comfortably. 

Check with the college about the payment terms. You might find the down payment to start the programme reasonable with multiple easy monthly instalment plans options. Check and see what works best within your budget. And don’t forget, a little hardship now can lead to greater rewards in the future.

Time

Time management is the key. Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

Time is the one thing that waits for no one. There are multiple challenges when it comes to managing time. Can time be managed? First, you must decide if this is the right time to go back to school. Can you wait any further? Are you losing out if you delay? How are you going to manage your work, family, and study at the same time?

The answer is to plan and schedule everything. People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with your family’s schedule; this will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

Time management is the key! IT. CAN. BE. DONE.


Now, if you don’t want to delay anymore and are ready to start a master’s degree programme, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors today.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Pascal

Through the #DILO series of blog posts, we have been bringing you insights into the life of our master’s students, sharing their thoughts and opinions, ups and downs, and key learning points during their online studies. The whole idea behind this series is to make you aware of the realities of online studies and aid you in decision making.   

This week we take a look at a day in the life of one of our master’s degree student, Pascal. Here are a few insights and some words of wisdom that Pascal had to share from his own experience:  

An Introduction  

Who are you, really?  

Pascal S, a journalist for more than 25 years  

Which Uni are you studying with?  

University of Cumbria  

Which programme did you choose and why?  

MBA Media Leadership, to get even better in my job as a journalist/editor/redactor in chief. And another challenging part was to study the programme in a foreign language.  

  

The Study Plan  

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

I studied between one and two hours per day during weekdays and at least two hours per day during the weekends, sometimes more.  

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Because of the family and the job, the only suitable time to study was the evenings during the weekdays rather than in the afternoons & evenings during the weekends.  

How much time did you devote for each assignment?  

ItI took me around 10 days for the interim assignment and a little more than two weeks for the final assignment. Coordination for the final assignment is quite delicate as I wanted to end it at least a week before the due date, in order to check, read, correct, Turnitin Test, etc.  

  

Travelling and Communication  

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

It did not, as I did not travel a lot—only a daily commute.  

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

I consider interaction as satisfying, although I prefer chatting directly with people. But I enjoy reading contributions and experiences all around the world, which is a bonus for online teaching.  

  

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Master’s student look like for you?  

After the daily chores and home duties, I read the assignment documents, trying to find out what is the most relevant or, at least, the general picture. I take notes, references and try to see if there are other sources to complete the assignment. Sources I will use for my final assignment.  

  

Any advice?  

Study a bit each day (one to two hours in a day), prepare yourself a work schedule, take notes, write down your ideas and start your assignment(s) early; otherwise, the time pressure will kill you.  

Well, indeed, incredibly helpful advice from Pascal. A proactive early start not only saves you from an unpredictable situation but also helps you follow your study plan with confidence. To get you through the master’s studies, we have an excellent faculty team of subject-matter experts, who guide and encourage students to achieve their potential.   

If you have been dreaming of joining a master’s programme or have had this personal goal to gain a higher education, now is the time! Take the valuable advice from our current students, gain from their experience, add your own unique study strategy, and make your own success stories! I would love to feature you one ce day on our college blog.  

Chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time. 

Want to study for long hours? Here are 7 tips to get you started!

University, for me at least, was a blast. I had loads of friends and every day was a party. I wish I were a better student than I was, but at the same time, I don’t think I would change any of my experiences. The friends I made then are pretty much the same friends I have today. Someone wiser than me once said that a good friend is the one who comes to bails you out of prison, but your best friend/brother is the one sitting next to you in jail saying, “dang! we are now in trouble”. These are the kind of friends I have today.

But in having this amazing experience in university I pushed studies to the background and would try and cram as much learning as I could a week (or a day) before the exams. But that never worked; I would get easily distracted, and what I did learn would slip right out of my mind the second I closed the book. Last-minute cramming sessions hardly ever work. Studying long hours, like everything else, is a skill that needs to be developed and fostered.

Learning to study long hours is especially important for mature students doing an online programme. Apart from the usual work pressures, there are also many other things around that demand our attention and can be an unavoidable distraction from studies. So, putting in the time when the opportunity arises, even if it is a marathon study session, can be very important, and learning to learn and retain during this time is critical.

But how does one go about studying for long periods? Here are 7 tips to get you started.

1. Break it down

Don’t feel intimidated by the amount you have to study. Break it down! Photo by Teslariu Mihai on Unsplash

Some of the study material you have to go through can get quite intimidating; there is just so much. This intimidation could lead to anxiety, which in turn could lead to your getting distracted, and finally, you will just end up procrastinating. Take a pen and paper and write down what you intend to achieve by the end of your study session, and then break it down to smaller targets that can be achieved. This list of achievable targets will be your guiding star; this will help you focus your efforts and concentrate on the micro picture, reducing overall stress.

2. Changing your frame of mind

Let’s face it; you will not come back from the office or a football game and get right into studying. Your mind is still at the office or at the game or whatever you were doing before getting to your studies. Give yourself some time to get into the right frame of mind, say 30 minutes. First, get rid of all distractions – tv, phone, tablets, etc., then use these 30 minutes to transition into a learning frame of mind – get your study set up, ensure all stationery required is on hand, eat something and keep drinking water close. Once everything is set up, just relax your mind – do some breathing exercises, listen to some calming music, or take a hot bath. And once the 30 minutes are done, get to studying!

3. Think positive

Photo by Katrina Wright on Unsplash

I know there are a thousand different things you’d rather be doing than studying. But this is what you must do to get ahead in your career, improve your knowledge, and earn that degree you always dreamt of having. So, keep thinking positive as you work towards your dreams, and don’t forget to celebrate the small victories. 

4. Unscheduled breaks

Schedule and time all your breaks. Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

AVOID unscheduled breaks! I get it; you have to take breaks but ensure that they are timed and scheduled. Don’t be tempted to check your phone or watch that match on tv in the middle of your study session. Once you get that ball rolling, it will just pick up speed, and the next thing you will be doing is studying during commercial breaks. Take the break when you schedule it and only for the duration it was planned for!

5. Study actively

Be engaged with what you are studying. Start reading the study material actively, making notes, asking questions about what you are reading, and answering them to better understand the subject. Don’t just read for the sake of reading; understand and learn by getting engaged with what you read.

6. Mix it up

Get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Photo by Sarah Brown on Unsplash

While it is essential for you to have your own study space devoid of distractions, during an extended study session where studying can get physically tiring, you might get a few extra hours of learning done by changing your location. Try to keep distractions to a minimum, so maybe go out to a park or sit in your backyard, but if you end up in a café, make sure you take your noise-cancelling headphones with you.  

7. End it

Once you are done with your marathon study session, end it. Close your books and maybe go right to bed, don’t think about studying anymore, this way you will be fresh and rested for your study session the next day.


These study habits, like everything else, must be cultivated and developed; it is not something that will work right off the bat. You get into a habit of long study sessions by repeating regularly. Start with one full day of studying every alternate week. If you have the time, do it weekly, and before you know it, this one day a week study session will help you get ahead of your class. But please do not neglect your regular study sessions; this is just a boost to give you an edge in class and help you cement what you learnt. 

We would love to hear from you about what helped you with your long study sessions. Is an all-day-long study session something you would do?

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

#DILO (A day in the life of) a master’s student – Lebo Buthelezi

We continue our blog series that answers some of the questions we get here at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) by prospective students looking to join one of our online programmes. We asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.   

Hear from our online Master’s degree students about a day in their lives. Photo by Matt Botsford on Unsplash.

Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!  

An Introduction 

Who are you, really?  

My name is Lebo Buthelezi. I am a family-oriented person, ambitious and can be a bit pessimistic sometimes. Passionate about diversity, inclusion, women empowerment and gender equality. Professionally I work as a project cost controller in the mining industry, where I have been learning the corporate reputation and shaping the perceptions of the company in projects for more than a decade. I am also a founder and director of LebVic Design fashion clothing line start-up.  

Which Uni are you studying with?  

University of Salford 

Which programme did you choose and why?  

MSc in Project Management, I want to have a qualification for the career that I have chosen. I aspire to have my own Project Management consultancy company. I have learned that studying is an incredible opportunity to learn about business prospects and how to effectively transition to economic opportunities.  

The Study Plan  

Time flies, so plan your studies. Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash.

How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? How many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?  

I planned to study at least 25 hours a week: Monday to Friday 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evenings, and Saturday 5 hours. Reality: The study hours fluctuated as I found myself spending more hours of studies during weekends and less during the week as anticipated.  

What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)  

Early mornings during the week and most of the hours on weekends.

How much time did you devote to each assignment?  

The plan was to spend two weeks on assignments. In most instances, I overthink and over analyse assignments and end up taking more days after the two weeks.  

Travelling and Communication  

Figure out how to study and stay connected when travelling. Photo by Brett Zeck on Unsplash.

How did travelling impact your ability to study?  

It improved my personal development, discovered different cultures, contributed to a better academic performance and social interaction with other students. Learning in a new or different environment offers a different perspective on how other countries conduct businesses—expanding career horizons when you earn the international qualification. [Editor’s note: remember pre-Covid times? One week long residencies were a thing – and Lebo attended one in Salford]

How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?  

Technology played the most important role, even though there are time differences. Using the online campus gives flexibility as you can communicate anytime, and feedback is given promptly. The way the online campus is set makes life easy because most of the questions are answered on the platform. The zoom classes as well contributed, and a WhatsApp group was created between students.  

A typical day as a master’s student  

What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?  

I would wake up, study for 2 hours, get ready for work, and off I go. In the afternoon, I get home, follow up on business, and study for 2 hours before I sleep. Saturday morning work in my business until lunchtime, after lunch, I study. Sunday, I rest and spend it with family. Studying online comes with the room of being flexible with your studies and making it easy to have a work-life balance.  

Any advice?  

Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.  

The moment you enrol yourself to study, make sure that you break the habit of multitasking. I had to learn the hard way; managing work, business and studies comes with challenges. However, it is not impossible to manage all of them. It is important to set up a study strategy, have a life study schedule to track your progress. Time management is crucial, have a study plan with deadlines and stick with them. Studying can be challenging and take us out of our comfort zone; when that happens, we should be resilient and disciplined with our studies till we reach our goal of graduating.  


I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this space for similar blogs. So, if you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree and now understand how to study better for an online programme, look at our programmes and see if anything interests you.

If you still have questions though, post them here in the comments or, even better, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for personalised guidance through the application process.

6 tips to help you study better at home

It is so easy to get distracted when studying or working from home. There are so many things to distract you – from your better half asking (some might say nagging) you not to eat unnecessarily to children wanting to play, from your neighbours knocking on your door asking for some sugar (again) to someone unexpected ringing the doorbell.

Studying from home. Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

Now that you have decided to do an online master’s degree programme, you must be prepared for the challenges that studying at home entails. Most people don’t take these challenges seriously, and by the time they realise they have fallen behind in their programme, it may be too late to recover. So, tackle these challenges from the start.

In addition to all the “normal” challenges of studying at home, COVID-19 has forced some of us to isolate and work from home and forced children to stay home all day too.

How do you stay on top of your schoolwork? What can you do to help yourself study better at home?

Here are 6 tips to help you get started:

1. Location, Location, Location

Have a dedicated area at home for your study. Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

The first thing you need to do is have an area at home dedicated to your study. Make the space comfortable; add a few personal items to this area that give you ownership. And finally, make sure all the study materials you require are with you in the study, so you have no excuses to get distracted. Remember, when you work in silence, success does all the talking! Set up the study in a place where the external distractions will be minimal.

2. Organise like a pro

Use organisers to increase efficiency. Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

People who use a calendar know how useful it can be to increase efficiency. The organiser/calendar is a tool that can be far more useful than to remind you of your next meeting. Create a calendar that contains every minutia of your daily activities for the week/month/quarter (however long you can go), from household chores to study/work deadlines. Then populate the calendar with the schedule of your family. This will give you a good idea of your schedule, inform you when to expect distractions from your family, and help you plan for it.

3. Chewing Gum

Photo by Pete Alexopoulos on Unsplash

According to an article published by the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI), chewing gum can enhance attention and promote well-being and work performance. The impact of chewing gum is said to be more than that of coffee, the catch being that the effects of chewing gum will last for only about thirty minutes. So, make sure you use the thirty minutes of heightened focus wisely and stock up on sugarless, flavourless gum.

4. Cutting the noise and setting boundaries

Having your family and friends around can get a little noisy. Getting your family, especially kids and pets, to understand that you are studying and not just sitting back and relaxing while reading your favourite LITRPG novel (Gnomes Rule!) might be difficult and, at times, heart-breaking (I know it is hard to say no to kids). But once they understand your schedule and that you are not to be disturbed when you are at your study, they will learn to give you your space.

Another way to reduce the noise is music. Put on an over-the-ear headset and, in low volume, listen to some classical music. It will also have the added advantage of keeping you calm.

5. Engage all your senses

Photo by Solstice Hannan on Unsplash

You are already listening to online lectures and reading articles, so why not make notes and ask questions? One of the best ways to learn is by being engaged in your studies, so try to increase the number of ways you can be involved with what you are studying.

Another good way to learn and retain more information is to teach, so once you have a handle on a subject, start by pretending to teach it to someone. Prepare for questions you might get asked by students, maybe join a study group with your fellow students and have a go at teaching them.

If you are not the teaching kind, then doodle. According to an article by Harvard Health Publishing, during an experiment on memory and retention, it was found that people who doodled were better at paying attention to the message and recalling the details. They recalled 29% more information!

6. Celebrate the accomplishments

Celebrate your success with a couple of squares from that bar of chocolate. Photo by Keriliwi on Unsplash

When you have successfully completed a task, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching! Have a couple of squares from that bar of chocolate. You will find that celebrating your success will lift a weight from your shoulders that you did not even know you carried, which will help you focus better and remain motivated.


If you have been thinking about doing a master’s degree, and are ready to challenge yourself, look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in earning your master’s degree.

You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and for information on discounts we might be offering at this time.

Unable to focus when studying? Here are 3 tips that may help you focus!

With age comes wisdom. By and large, the saying holds true, with a few exceptions – I am sure many of us know someone in our lives who hasn’t learnt from their mistakes. But this blog is not about introspection, or learning from one’s mistakes, or even about changing the past. It is about learning to focus when studying.

However, when I thought about writing this blog, it got me thinking about my childhood and the student I was; it got me introspecting. I remember sitting in my study and trying to focus on my textbook, and I remember all I needed was the slightest distraction to get completely distracted. Even when I read, I was just going through the motions and not really focusing or even trying to understand what I was trying to study.

It got so bad that even my parents realised I wasn’t focusing on what I was studying, and I remember the day before some exams, my mother would come to the study and offer to read the textbook for me. I don’t think I have ever thanked my parents for all the support they have given me, so thank you, mom and dad, for all you have done for me.

There goes my focus! Let’s get back on topic, shall we?

FOCUS! Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash

What is focus?

In the simplest terms, focus is the ability to do a task without getting distracted.

Focus (or attention span), like most other human habits, can be trained and developed. The easiest things to develop are bad habits as it is usually fast and easy. But focus/concentration/attention span – whatever you want to call it, will take hard work and dedication.

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.”

Bruce Lee

Our mind is, after all, a muscle, and so is trainable. The following are 3 simple tips that should get you started on the path of training your focus.

1. Take responsibility

Don’t wait for a sign from heaven to take responsibility for your life! Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash

Human beings like to deflect responsibility. If we take on the responsibility of a particular task, like, let’s say, studying a particular subject at a specific time, then the responsibility of completing the said task is in our hands. There may have been several reasons that distracted you and prevented you from completing the task… wrong! You allowed yourself to be distracted, and you failed to complete the task. So, stop making excuses and get back in the driver’s seat of your life!

A good way to understand what I am trying to say here is by imagining yourself on a long road trip, and you find yourself in the backseat of the car. For most of us, it is just a matter of time before we fall asleep. Now, keeping all conditions the same, only you find yourself in the driver’s seat, you will find yourself more focused, alert, and determined to drive the car to the best of your ability.

So, take responsibility, get on the driver’s seat, and you will find yourself able to focus a lot better.

2. Practice

Attention is a muscle, and like every other muscle, it needs to be trained and worked out to develop. Malcolm Gladwell, the author of Outliers, wrote that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. He said 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” are needed to become world-class in any field.

We have many distractions around us that prevent us from focusing on the task at hand, and more often than not, we give in to those distractions. We do it so often that in the end, we become experts in ‘getting distracted’.

So, how do you go about training attention?

Let’s start with a simple exercise. Let’s start with a 10-minute exercise. Go to your study, just with a notebook and a sheet of paper to note down all your distractions. Leave all distractions (mobile phones, storybooks, food, etc.) outside. To start with, choose your favourite subject and take study material only for that subject and only what you will be able to cover in 10-minutes.

Time yourself. 10-minutes, that all it takes. Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

Start reading the study material actively, making notes and asking questions to better understand the subject. In the middle of this active study session, if anything distracting pops into your mind, make a note of it immediately in the distraction sheet, and return to your studies immediately. And once the 10-minutes is done, stop. Close your study material and leave the study.

Gradually try increasing the number of these 10-minute slots, rather than increasing the duration of study. If you find yourself unable to focus during these slots and cannot refocus, stop the session early and walk away. 

You will find you can cover as much in 10 minutes of focused effort as what you would usually have covered in an hour previously.

3. Health and rewards

We have covered most of this in detail in our earlier blogs, and I will link them here – eat healthily and exercise your body. To keep motivated, reward yourself, even in small ways. On completing tasks, realise that you have, and acknowledge this fact! Stand up and dance like nobody’s watching!


I hope these tips will help in getting you started on focusing on your tasks better. We would love to hear from you about what helped you with improving your focus.

If you are ready to start your online studies, chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the 100% online master’s degree programmes we offer and the application process.

5 habits of successful students

Getting back to being a student is not easy, especially if you have been out of school for a while. But since you have decided to get your master’s degree, there are a few simple habits that, if developed, can help you become a better student as well as have a positive impact on your life in general. Acquiring these habits can help you become more productive, organised, and efficient.

Some of these points might sound obvious, and they are, and you might be under the impression that you are already implementing them in your life. But I urge you to think about these points and analyse if you are genuinely implementing them – the answer might surprise you.

The 5 habits

Do not procrastinate

We have covered this point to death in our blogs, and here we are writing about it in another blog. And the reason we are doing it is that this is a significant point, the importance of which cannot be understated. Procrastination is also one of the most common habits developed by human beings. My colleague, Vidhi Kapoor, has covered procrastination and tips on overcoming the habit in one of our previous blogs – Procrastination.. Saving for tomorrow…….

Read ahead

Depending on the programme of study, you may get access to materials before the module starts for real – use that time to prepare. Make a list of the topics covered in the module (mind-maps are a great tool for this), try to get your hands on as many of the recommended/required readings as you can, and even start reading about the concepts in advance. Doing a first pass before watching the video lectures will help you prepare the ground for sowing, as it were – and it may be that questions that you come across while reading solo will be answered by the lecture, or not – in which case, you’ll know what to ask using the class discussion when the time comes! 

Plan

Organise your notes in such a way that it is easy to find when the time comes to refer to them. Use a calendar, keep track of your class and fee payment schedules, know when your assignments are due and ensure that you complete your tasks before they are due. Time management is probably one of the biggest reasons students fall behind or stay ahead in their classes. We have covered time management as well in one of our previous blogs. Being organised can also relieve stress because you know what to expect and can be prepared beforehand.

Let’s file “seamless cloud back-ups” under being organised. Even with intermittent internet access, you can still organise cloud back-ups (or external drives if you prefer) – computer crashes do happen, but they are seen as the equivalent of the “dog ate my homework” of yesteryear. 

Teacher’s pet

Traditionally, being thought of as a teacher’s pet could make you really unpopular with your classmate. You are all grown up now though: stop thinking like a child!  No man is an island! But as usual, we keep forgetting this. If you have a question or do not understand something, ask! The professors are there to help you learn and study better. You can also ask your classmates for help, and hopefully, you will also be able to help them, if asked. There is no better way to truly understand something than trying to explain it to someone else. Active class participation can have several positive impacts on your student life. Teachers notice the students who are engaged in class and will, in general, be more positively disposed towards these students. Don’t be afraid to “raise your hand”, virtually as that may be, and ask questions. It is always better to come away from a class with a clear understanding of the subject.  And finally, take notes while you watch the videos – it is the best aid you can have during your revision of the subject.

Use active study methods rather than passive study methods

I will explain to you my understanding of the differences between active and passive study methodologies using a simple example.

When I was in school, I had a teacher that made us study by rewriting something repeatedly. For example, and this is just an example, let us take Newton’s third law of motion, which states that for every action in nature, there is an equal and opposite reaction. This teacher would make us write the law repeatedly until it became muscle memory. There may be a time when this works, but I have found that there is no understanding of the law here, and this is a passive way of studying.

An active study method is to summarise your understanding of the topic in your own words. This method enables long term retention of the topic and, more importantly, understanding of the subject matter, which will help you to practically implement it at work in the long term.


These are just a few points that will hopefully help you become a better student. There are probably many ways to achieve this more effectively and efficiently. If you know of any, please list them in the comments.

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