Studying with The Open University can be a real juggling act, particularly at Christmas time when you want to relax and enjoy time with your family but still have that looming assignment on your mind.
Karen Foley is an OU Lecturer and presenter on the OU’s Student Hub Live. She’s knows that OU students are spinning plates all year round, often combining study, work and life . She offers this advice on dealing with study over Christmas, while still taking that much-needed time off:
1) Check the task in hand
Save yourself worry time over Christmas by checking when the next deadline looms. Often we know (even fear) there is a deadline looming but don’t look at the task. Until you know how complex (or simple) it is, you won’t know how much time to set aside. Often it is less than you think.
2) Relax and enjoy the season
Take time off, and give yourself a present of valuable time off study and thinking about studying. You need to recharge and plan things that matter to you. Make a pact to only feel guilty for not studying if you are not studying when you have told yourself you should be!
3) Straighten up your study space
Sort out your study space and organise your things if you find yourself with spare time over the holidays. It can be very therapeutic and give you clarity. You can literally clear away the clutter. Same goes for your module housekeeping. If you’re mid-way through a module take a moment to ensure you’ve noted your assignment dates and booked in any tutorials if you have them.
4) Prioritise (and be realistic)
Identify what you must do, rather than all the things you could do. Try to break big tasks down. Instead of saying “write essay” you could say: “do plan, find resources or note chapters to read” for your essay. Above all be realistic and remember point 2) above.
5) Broaden your study horizons
If you find yourself feeling tired of study, try a new way in. Reignite your passion for your subject by watching something (DVDs or TV) that’s related to the topic. The OU also has a lot of free content on OpenLearn and you could also use online searches and YouTube to look up specific questions or areas.
Above all don’t panic! In January the OU runs a Student Hub Live workshop on the 10th January to help students get on track after the festive holidays. It will focus on re-prioritising study goals and reconsidering time management among other things.
And to remind you, watch Karen take you through some of those winter festive tips: