When the going gets tough…

Cath Littler Head of Learning - Accounting

Deciding to study, finding a course, enrolling on that course, and then starting to study is an achievement.  When interviewing potential students as the Head of AAT at an FE College with the largest national AAT provision, I have had students literally jump up and down with joy when they have been accepted on course.

Once that initial hurdle is overcome, and you start to study in earnest, you are fully aware that your studies will be hard work but keeping your long-term goal in mind helps keep you motivated.

However, whatever your academic background and motivation levels, there is always a time when it becomes harder and harder to settle down to study.  For everyone there is a different reason for finding it difficult to study, whether it is resentment that your social life is being curtailed, the demands of a young family, or even a partner who was initially encouraging but has become less supportive. Perhaps you are just tired and/or simply feel that it is all too much and that you cannot possibly succeed?

Well, you are not alone, it happens to everyone at some point.  However, the difference between success and failure is how you approach the situation.

Firstly, recognise how you are feeling and give yourself a little time to acclimatise. For some people that is only an hour or two, others need a few days, but don’t let the time slip away.  Agree with yourself how long you are going to take and stick to it.

While you are taking your mini break, your brain will be working in the background and when you are ready to start again, it will already have solutions for any issues to start working on.

Next formulate a plan, if you are behind in your studies then set out a new timetable rather than try to catch up in your normal study time.  Ask your training provider for help. Good students have set times in the week that they allocate to studying, so if you haven’t done that then make sure to write out a weekly plan.  You will probably have to tweak it as you go until you have a plan that works.

If your studies are impacting on those around you, then chat to your family and work out a solution with them which allows them to support you.  Promise of dedicated family time can be used as a reward for both children and partners. Whatever you agree with them, you need their support.

Personally, when I don’t want to work and just can’t get going, I break tasks down to smaller and smaller chunks.  Perhaps simply switching my computer on. Then I get drawn in, I open emails and chat software. Within a short period of time, I am tapping away at a task that only 15 minutes earlier seemed far too daunting.  I recognise that I can only do what I feel able to do at any given time. And so can you.

Finally, give yourself little rewards each time you study, you deserve them!

Posted on: 6 January 2023

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