Balancing work and study life I Oxford Open Learning

Balancing work and study life

The quest for knowledge in life is never ending. It is why the concept of lifelong learning is becoming more popular by the day. Formal schooling is one aspect of being equipped for life, but this does not necessarily mean that education needs to stop as soon as you leave the mainstream. Indeed, several changes in today’s lifestyle demand a certain continuous learning on the part of adults. Such changes may relate to better job prospects, a change in professional direction, or the desire to enhance one’s already acquired knowledge. As an adult, however, you also have to tackle quite a number of tasks in your everyday life, such as family or work, and keeping a balance may prove difficult. With this in mind, I am providing some tips which could make your life a little easier…

1) Have a flexible schedule with realistic goals. One of the most common traps you can fall into is one you can set yourself: setting yourself unrealistic, unachievable goals. You may think that you can deal with everything on your plate at once, but the chances are, if you do, you will burn out and leave tasks unfinished. Even if you do manage to get through your study list working this way, you may well find that in the end you haven’t done a very good job. It might not be a bad idea to reach your goals via a series of smaller (though not insignificant) tasks than you’d first planned. Rome was not built in a day and neither is the acquisition of knowledge. Make sure that what you learn, you learn in a meaningful way so that it sticks for life, rather than just learning for the moment simply to remember how to complete any assignments you may have. Try to have a flexible schedule and remember that you are doing this for yourself; it’s not a race.

2) Communicate. One of the hardest parts of distance learning can be keeping yourself accountable. It may prove helpful to communicate your plans and schedule to people around you. It could be your family or your co-workers, even your boss, depending on the reason you are taking the course. Discussing your learning schedule with the people involved will keep you motivated and accountable for your progress.

3) Stick with it. Distance learning is not easy, but always remember the benefits you are getting. When you are able to study at your own pace and in your preferred environment, you do not have to rush or stress to the detriment of your work. Commuting is not a concern when it comes to your studying, and you can choose to do so whenever you prefer, be that once your other obligations have been taken care of or before. Just take the advice I’ve already given, make sensible study plans and things will progress smoothly. Our previous Oxford Open Learning students can certainly attest to that.

No matter how challenging it may be to balance your learning and work life, in the end it is worth it. Hopefully, these tips will prove valuable. Happy learning!

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Pola is an avid reader and passionate about anything education related. She is an English teacher and has taught students from diverse backgrounds, both privately and in the classroom. Her studies in English Language and Literature and International and Comparative Education have provided her with the necessary skills and knowledge to further pursue matters related to education - and to write for OOL.

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