Fitting online study into a busy life

The modern-day student is a working professional, a parent, a committed partner and enjoys the company of friends and extended family. You would think this leaves very little time to commit to study, right? Any significant doubt is quashed by students who are, time and time again, proving that online postgraduate study is not only achievable, but a completely rewarding experience.

Paul Betts, husband and father of two, is one of the most recent graduates from Southern Cross University Online. He works full-time, has family and social commitments, and is a budding triathlete. A proven success story, Paul shares his reasons for choosing to study online and how he set out to achieve this to further his career.

Prioritise your tasks

You can’t be a star online student if you choose to watch a funny cat video or an episode of your favourite cooking show on the train home from work, when you’ve got a quiz due by the end of the day. One of the most important tips for keeping on top of your study commitments is to prioritise. That might mean you write a list of all your tasks for the week or, as Paul explains, find ways to utilise your time more efficiently.

“The best way to plan study I guess is to prioritise, just by utilising time—it might be time waiting for bus, time on a bus. It might be an hour here or there commuting to work; it might be getting to work an hour early.” Being aware of what task you should complete and when, will allow you to do more, and potentially provide you with some spare time up your sleeve.

Create a routine

Things won’t always go to plan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be setting yourself up to succeed. It’s essential that you are aware of your schedule and create a routine that incorporates your priorities from work, family, study and social.

“Understanding when you’re down times are, where’s that extra bit of time that you can use and recognising – you know what, there’s going to be some weeks that are busier than others,” Paul states. “Sometimes, it might mean moving some things around to get particular assessments in on time.”

Balance is key

Maintaining the right amount of time with your family is crucial to your wellbeing as an online student. The nature of online learning and the fact that there are no on-campus requirements allows for this to happen, as Paul recounts.

“Even when I am studying, I can be at home, I can be present with the children and they know I’m here. I’m not off at a library, I’m not off at a lecture, I’m still there being part of the family.” Finding a balance between your family, work and study—that works for you—will be key to your success.

If you are considering online study, reach out to our dedicated Student Enrolment team to learn more about our online postgraduate courses on 1300 589 882.

Watch the full video of SCU Online’s MBA graduate, Paul Betts, sharing his study tips and advice.

View Transcript

Fitting study into a busy life
I guess when I started researching different schools, I looked at a couple schools that do the traditional method of MBAs, and I choose Southern Cross and online particularly, because like I’m
busy, right – you know, I’ve got work and I’ve got family and I’m trying to fit in triathlons and what not.

How do I fit in full-time work and study? Look, I guess it’s about being able to set up a routine for your week, understanding when you’re down times are, where’s that extra bit of time that you can use and recognising – you know what, there’s going to be some weeks that are busier than others. Sometimes, it might mean moving some things around to get particular assessments in on time.

The best way to plan study, I guess, is to prioritise, just by utilising time, not be time waiting for bus, time on a bus. It might be an hour here or there I was commuting to work, it might be getting to work an hour early.

Having a young family, it’s really important to maintain having quality time with the kids. And studying online means that you can put that down, you can put it asideand even when I am studying, I can be at home, I can be present with the children and they know I’m here – I’m not off at a library I’m not off at a lecture, I’m still there being part of the family.

I don’t think studying online with SCU took any less time than a traditional method of study, it just meant that I’d be more effective in the time that I did spend, so planning and prioritising my time around studying for an online MBA with key to that success.

Need more tips? We’ve also created an infographic that lists another six ways to help you improve your online study experience.