No matter your age, if you are studying straight out of school or as a mature student, the pressures of taking on a course in higher education can be real and affect your mental health.
Balancing the competing pressures of work, life and study can be an intricate dance. With the right tools, you can support your studies successfully, reduce worries, and streamline your workload. The key is to be aware of when things aren’t going well and seek the right support.
Below are the 5 biggest students struggles (and how to fix them):
1. Internet Connection: I can’t access my course!
One of the most common things we hear from our students is that they have problems connecting to the internet. Issues with access, speed and bandwidth can leave your frustrations high, performance low and reduce the quality of your work.
Here’s our golden tip: invest in your internet connection. It’s simple, really, and a little outlay now can stop a myriad of headaches later. If the internet is patchy in your area or you don’t want to commit to a plan, get yourself a 5G dongle – you will be happy you did!
There are plenty of internet providers to choose from in Australia with plans and pricing to suit your needs. Vodafone, Optus and Telstra are all good options to investigate. Just make sure you check your 5G or 4G network coverage before committing to your plan. You don’t want to sign up for a device that won’t work in your study environment! Each internet provider has its own network coverage link.
2. Self-Motivation: are you allowing Netflix to steal your study show?
When we often feel overwhelmed by the pressures of life, we allow ourselves to become distracted. As you progress through your course, something shiny may pop into sight and your focus shifts, and you momentarily forget your goals.
Here’s the fix: you need a gentle reminder that motivation feels good!
- Remind yourself of why you are studying. What are the pros? How will completing your course positively impact your life?
- Reward yourself. Support yourself through the procrastination blues with a reward. Make it simple yet enticing.
- Take small steps. It’s easy to avoid a task when it seems too much. Small steps help you reduce how impossible a task may seem by approaching it a little bit at a time. Each time you have a small win, you are flooded with feel-good vibes. Naturally, you want to repeat it!
3. Fear – the F word.
It can be easy to allow fear to take a front-row seat—the fear of the unknown, of where choices will lead. Overachieving, overwhelm, academic and social pressures, and associated anxiety and stress can lead to mental and physical health problems. Let’s be honest. It’s not a great place to be, yet we have all found ourselves there at some point.
The is no magic pill, but this will undoubtedly help: Take a preventative approach. Life is wobbly, and it’s full of ups and downs. The key is to be aware when you are off track and ask for support when you are unable to help yourself.
We encourage our students to try the free Smiling Mind app, where you can find a series of mindfulness practices to support you through life’s ups and downs and keep you on track with your studies. Just 10 minutes a day of mindfulness practice can make a huge difference.
4. Time management: is the ‘I’m too busy’ mindset getting you down?
Days are getting busier, and time is moving faster – or at least it appears that way. There will always be something trying to draw your attention away from your studies, be it family, work or social engagements.
Here are some simple time management strategies:
- Remove distractions, including social media. There is even an app for that!
- Create a “To Do” list at the end of each day
- Set reminders for deadlines
- Focus on one thing at a time
- Ensure you get enough sleep
5. Financial pressure: making ends meet.
Financial stress in students is high and can directly impact study outcomes. Many students work to support their studies, and it can be challenging to find a happy medium between work and study. Financial obligations such as rent, utility bills, car rego and social engagements can add up, leaving students motivated to work more, leaving less time for learning.
Financial wellbeing is the key: sound management of your finances can help you live within your means and budget for unexpected expenses. It’s not about how much you earn but more about how you manage what you have.
Moneysmart has some great resources for managing your money on a student budget. They cover budgets, government assistance, HECS and HELP costs, studying while you work and where to get help when you need it.
Behind every successful student is a team of support. Chat to one of our friendly crew today about how we can support your learning journey and career success.