Dreaming of a career change but feel like there’s too much going on in your life? Whether you’re a parent, carer or have a lot of day-to-day responsibilities, adding study to the mix may seem impossible.
If you’re considering starting uni, the good news is that it’s possible to balance study with your busy schedule. In fact, it’s easier now than ever.
Here’s how to make it work.
Learn about the different ways to study
To set yourself up for success at uni from the get-go, it’s important to decide how to structure your course.
University courses are more often than not designed for flexibility. You can choose to study full-time or part-time. You can create a timetable that works around your schedule and opt for blended learning or night classes. You can even study entire courses online.
Plan, plan, plan
As a busy individual, there’s no doubt your days already involve plenty of planning. Adding uni to your schedule will help you put these skills to good use.
To start, create a rough plan of how you expect your next year will look. Schedule in personal events, holidays, study commitments and deadlines.
As you go through the year, plan out each week to help you stay on track. Refer to your initial yearly plan while doing this. It’ll give you an idea of how long you need to complete your assignments without having to compromise on personal and family time.
The Achieve@Uni module can help you develop strong study skills and get you confidently planning your semesters ahead.
Make the most of downtime
Studying doesn’t have to mean sitting down at a desk, poring over a stack of textbooks for hours. Creating a work-life-study balance means learning how to study smarter, not harder.
To make the most of your day, identify some time where you can fit in some productivity where you wouldn’t usually. For example, you could complete a reading on the train to work or listen to a lecture while cooking dinner.
Even if you can only manage ten minutes at a time, it all adds up to help you become equipped and acquainted with your subjects.
Ask for support
Uni can be challenging, but you never have to go it alone. We offer a range of support services at La Trobe designed to help you in any situation, including:
- Peer Learning Advisers (or PLAs), high-achieving La Trobe students selected to help you with study and assignments
- Access to professionally trained counsellors, who are available to meet with you in person, by phone or Zoom
- Financial support if you’re on a low income or experiencing financial difficulties
- Multifaith chaplaincy services that can help you find local churches and find friends of the same religion
- Culturally-sensitive support for Indigenous students including counselling, financial support, scholarships and more
- Disability and LGBTIQ+ support.
Studying online? You’ll have access to all the same supports as on-campus students. You can also visit your nearest La Trobe campus to access the library, study areas, health and wellbeing services and other facilities.
Set aside time for yourself
When you’re busy and stressed, it’s easy to neglect your basic needs. When creating your study plan, don’t forget to set aside time to relax and recharge. Pushing yourself too hard could lead to burnout and actually be counter productive.
If you start feeling like everything’s too much, there’s help available. La Trobe’s counsellors can help you develop healthy coping strategies and offer advice for managing work-life-study balance.
Think of the big picture
When things get tough, take some time out and remind yourself why you chose to study in the first place. Maybe you’re following a lifelong passion. Perhaps you want to help others.
Whatever the reason, keep your goals in mind when you’re overwhelmed or unmotivated. Your hard work will pay off.