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This is really the first time that it’s just been something I want to do for me, and I wish I’d done it 20 years ago

Top 5 Study Hints - #1 Prioritise

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Being able to focus on study for a period of time also means being able to prioritise those other things which are important such as family time and work. There will be occasions when study will take first priority especially around assignment or exam time. It may take a while for family, friends or work colleagues to adjust to your new boundaries, however prioritising was what many first in family participants mentioned was important when returning to study. Here’s some of their experiences:

  • Know your boundaries

    What students said:

    By trial and error I have established days which I devote to study and days that I accept I won't be studying, put the books away and try not to think about it

    I've had to learn time management very well. I've had to prioritise university work over sometimes going out with family or my partner, which I don't enjoy sometimes but I know it has to be done

    I often study well after the kids have gone to bed and on weekend. I have had to commit to less things and prioritise all the time

    With my work life, I limited my shifts to one a week as I am vehement that I never want to work to effect my studies. This has made working out study timetables more efficient for me but has meant that I had to adjust and negotiate shifts with my employer

  • Let some things go

    What students said:

    I can study mostly while my children are at school however I do have to study on weekends sometimes and in school holidays, which isn't good for them. My house gets messier and the children get bored/destructive when I'm studying but they are mostly good

    Had to make adjustments at home, such as minimizing distractions such as TV and household chores such as yard maintenance

    I have made some conscious decisions to cut back on social interactions and extended time away from home due to study.

    I have less time to participate in socialising, painting, roster at the gallery, outings, holidays, etc. I consciously make an effort to take mum out shopping, or to lunch etc

    The main way it has impacted my family life is that instead of watching tv with my family some nights, I'm studying instead

    I have to be less fussy about the state of my busy household, and not insist on cleaning before study

  • Learn to say ‘no’

    What students said:

    I have had to give up a few social things. I've had to say 'no' a lot or I've had to say 'I can't do that today because I have an essay due' so my family and I have had to change things around a bit

    Study comes first, every other aspect of life is put on hold until i have time/ energy to do it

  • Let others fill some of your roles

    What students said:

    My husband has become much more involved with domestic chores and our children, which has been fantastic for all of us.

    My kids life has really changed before I started university I was home and on call for them 24- 7 … I don't have as much time to spend with my family at times when I’m under pressure with work and my husband has had to take on a lot more responsibility when it comes to cooking dinner and picking up the kids and taking them to out school sport training

    Mum was very helpful and cooks me some meals to take down during the week

    When I have essays due and my partner is home from work he takes over the cooking and looking after the kids so that I can focus

    My mum is always offering to come and do some housework. She wants to see me finish

    I do not have much time to complete tasks such as cooking dinner or cleaning and so have to rely on other family members to help me out.

    My Husband has had to take on more house chores as there is not enough hours in my day sometimes

    My children have had to help out around the house more, and accept that my studies are no less important than theirs.

    I need to be extremely organised, my husband is happy to cook when I'm working on an essay in the last week prior to due date