How to study again after a long break

03 Oct 2016

It’s never easy to decide to study again after you have chosen to stop. It takes courage! We are going to give you some practical tips that will help you to get back on track!

  • Why do you want to study?

If you decide to study, you are likely to have a dream of what that studying will lead to. Is your dream to have a better future? Is it to find a job, or to secure a promotion? Do you want to be in a financial position to support your family?

  • Set a clear goal

Now that you have thought clearly about what your reason is for wanting to study, you can use it to clearly define your goal. With your goal firmly in mind you can start investigating the path that you need to take towards achieving that goal.

  • What course to choose

The nature of your goal will help you to decide which type of course to choose. A short course is a good way for you to improve your skills within a limited financial and time commitment. These short courses do not lead to a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF), but they will build your knowledge and key skills, improving your chances of employment, self-employment or promotion. On the other hand, a formal qualification will be registered on the NQF with SAQA and this will allow you to articulate (progress) upwards to a qualification on the next level of the NQF.

  • Now the hard work starts!

Now you need to show that you are committed to achieving that goal. Once you have started studying you must continue to visualise your end goal. This will help you to be proud of the effort you have already put in and motivate you to complete your studies.

  • How can you stay motivated?

Everyone has good days and bad days. What can you do when you are de-motivated? You need to remember your end goal! If you feel demotivated picture yourself accepting that job offer or imagine your sense of pride as you are awarded that promotion. These visualisation techniques will help to keep you motivated.

  • How can you balance studying, working and your personal commitments?

If you are someone who has to balance work and family with your studies, you need flexibility. Something we suggest, is that you choose an education provider that offers their courses through the distance learning mode of delivery. Distance learning doesn’t require you to attend classes at specific times. You are academically supported online and telephonically, and this flexibility allows you to balance your daily demands. You should also strive to master effective time management. Allocate blocks of time to your studies and stick to them. Work out when is the best time of day for you to study. For example, some students commit to getting up an hour earlier each day and dedicating that time to their studies. For others, the evening works best. When you have decided on the time of day and the time allocation, choose a location where you can focus and then you are ready to commit to the schedule.

  • Consider joining or forming a study group

Studying in groups is a great opportunity to share ideas, gain new perspectives and to help each other. A study group is also likely to help you if you struggle with procrastination because you will have to commit to a specific time and there will be other people to keep you accountable. Studying in groups also has the potential to bring the theory to life and they are often fun!

Remember that it’s never too late to make a positive change to your life! Jan Koum founded WhatsApp at the age of 35, Ray Kroc started McDonald’s at 52, John Pemberton invented Coca Cola at 55 and Harlan Sanders founded the Kentucky Fried Chicken company at the age of 65.

Author: Kim Elliott

Editor: Thembakazi Yamiso

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