Studying Online or Brain Training At Home

Posted: September 8, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
MRI of the Human brain.

MRI of the Human brain. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am currently studying a Bachelors Degree online and whilst it may not suit everyone, I thought I might blog about the benefits and disadvantages of studying using this method. It is often called flexible delivery and I suppose this is a good term to describe it because it means that you can choose your own times to study rather than be restricted with having to attend university lectures at designated times. However, there are unpredictable and magnetic attractions waiting to lure you away from your mission of training your brain so before you sign up for online study, have a read of this.

Just the thought of going back to a school regime made me feel ill. I had never really liked school all that much but I did and still do enjoy learning. I was discussing dream jobs with a friend one day and I mentioned I had always been interested in counselling but felt I had left it too late. She convinced me that I could “absolutely still do it” and that I would also be great at it since I have a lot of life experience. It was enough to motivate me to search my options on the Internet and before the week ended I was signed up for a three year degree in Applied Social Sciences.

Of course I had to wait didn’t I! So patience was my first lesson. I could not access any study material since I had signed at the end of November and classes were not starting until February. My text book list was available mid January so I bought the first one I would need for the cheapest price available online and read it cover to cover. I was hooked.

Even though I knew I had enough spare time to put in the hours required, I also do some casual work and it was recommended to me I should make a roster to allocate my time properly. My first 1000 word assignment was due mid March so I set about with real enthusiasm that quickly dwindled when I realised I was a little behind the eight ball having finished high school in the 1970’s, never attended a college or university and therefore had no idea what was required in an assignment. Fortunately there was loads of information on the university website about presentation guidelines, the different styles of assignments and how to compile a reference list. But of course this was all extra reading that I had not planned on. I think I only just made the assignment cut off date and although I did receive a pass, the constructive criticism I received from my tutor was very helpful. Since that first assignment I have received a few distinctions and know I am gaining more confidence in my writing skills.

My whole schedule and following the roster has gone to custard and I never look at it to see what I am meant to be doing any more. What no one tells you about flexible learning is that life..and shit..happens! Sometimes my adorable husband has the same days off as me and we spend it together, other times he encourages me to study and that is great but boy can he be a distraction. He will put the television on or play loud music or talk to me and be astounded that I don’t answer him. Other days I will make my mind up to study and he will have organised for us to go out. And I find it very difficult to say no, my mind is saying ‘oh go on.. this can wait’ but my conscience is saying ‘you will regret this decision’…my conscience is usually right and I then have to rush to get an assignment finished.

My first term of study I enrolled to do two subjects and managed the workload, however I agreed to work extra shifts during the next term and so cut back to one subject. This was a mistake. My mind went into relax mode whenever I was home and so I kept putting off the study. My motivation dropped through the floor and then when I did find it, I realised I had to pull my finger out fast. But I got the job done and vowed to never again enrol for less than two subjects per term. Being busy actually keeps my motivation up.

Access to tutors and other students is usually only a click away and there is a stack of information about study and learning on the Internet so I have never felt alone or isolated at any time

The fridge and kettle were always calling in the early days but I soon became strict with this and made myself take regular breaks to the front door not the fridge door. Just walking to the mailbox, hanging out the washing or other small household tasks provide a much needed break from the computer or text books and you feel you have achieved a lot by the end of the day. Of course starting each day with a half hour walk is good for kick starting the brain too.

So yes, there are pitfalls to studying online but I believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. Studying this way is convenient, comfortable (you can stay in your pj’s all day), less stressful (omg I’m having a bad hair day) and you can set your own pace. As long as you maintain fairly strict rules with your study time, keep motivated (keep reminding yourself what you will have achieved at the end) and remember to exercise your body as well as your brain (after all they are connected) there is no reason why you can’t have fun in the pursuit of training your brain.

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