The rewards for studying are well-documented: improved career prospects, a boost to your self-esteem and the potential to earn a higher salary.
But all of this is easy to forget when you hit an unexpected obstacle and that finish line can suddenly seem like it’s a long way away. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important not to feel overwhelmed. So take a deep breath, count to three and read our 10 quick fixes for 10 very common study problems…
1. You don’t understand something
We all know the feeling of sitting in a lecture hall or classroom, totally confused, but everyone around you seems to be having no problems at all. It’s a frustrating experience, but a simple one to fix: just speak up! If it’s a new topic or concept, you can pretty much guarantee that you’re not the only person struggling and tutors are always happy to explain something again.
2. You find a topic boring
Let’s be honest, with so many modules on each degree course it’s not unlikely that at least one won’t be interesting to you. When this happens, it can be even harder than usual to motivate yourself to do the reading and assignments. Try to find an angle within the topic that interests you, or just knuckle down and be glad that most modules only last a few weeks!
3. You’ve lost motivation for the course
This is very common when you’re midway through a course that lasts several years; it can sometimes feel like you’re stuck on a never-ending treadmill of reading, assignments and lectures. Don’t worry, you are going to finish. Try to remind yourself why you’re doing your course by reading back over your earlier assignments and personal statement to try to recapture that initial spark of enthusiasm.
4. You missed a deadline
Deadlines can be very intimidating, and missing one can be a really stressful experience. However, you definitely won’t be the first person to do this and institutions have policies in place to help you get back on track. All you need to do is act quickly and speak with your tutors and advisers so that they can tell you what options you have.
5. You got a low grade
Receiving a low grade on an assignment can be devastating, especially if you worked really hard. Try not to take it to heart; read your tutor’s comments and apply their advice to your next task. If you’re not sure what went wrong, schedule a discussion with your tutor to get a better understanding of how to avoid making the same mistakes in future.
6. You struggle to find the time to study
This is an extremely familiar problem, whether you’re studying part-time or full-time; family, work and other responsibilities all demand time and attention and the best way to overcome this problem is to make a realistic schedule, and stick with it. Or you can always read our tips on finding time in your day that you didn’t know existed.
7. You can’t stop procrastinating
Phones, tablets, TVs, computers, games consoles – screens are everywhere these days – and they’re all filled with games and apps designed to distract you and sap your productivity. If you’re really having trouble focusing, the easiest solution is to do the unthinkable and avoid your devices completely. Trying going to the library and leaving your phone at home, Facebook will still be there when you get back.
8. You can’t cope with the workload
The demands of a course can often come as a shock to new students, introducing intimidating concepts like deadlines and word counts. If you feel like you’re slipping behind, don’t panic, you’ll soon get into the swing of it. Create an achievable plan (and stick to it) and remember that your tutors have set you an amount of work that is possible; they’re not setting you up to fail.
9. You’re worrying about your career
Lots of people study for a qualification just for the joy of learning, but in truth most people also want to improve their employment prospects. If you’re worried about your career stagnating while you devote your spare time to study, try to remember to work on your transferable skills, brush up your CV or even do some voluntary work in your chosen role if you can.
10. You’ve got financial worries
Studying for a degree or any qualification is a huge investment, but don’t forget that the rewards are also great. Graduates have a better chance of earning more in the future, and there are many schemes, discounts and scholarships in place these days to help students fund their studies. If you’re struggling, speak to your university. Again, you won’t be alone and institutions have policies in place to help.
It sounds a little cheesy, but obstacles really are there to be overcome and nothing should hold you back from pursuing the qualifications you want. Remember, most common problems can be solved by just speaking out and asking for help.
Inspired to start studying? Download a prospectus.