How to Enjoy the Holidays and Still Get Everything Done

by South University 18 December 2014

Throughout the holidays, many students find it difficult to juggle their education and family obligations while still leaving time for much-needed time for rest and relaxation. As a result, writing papers, completing assignments or reading ahead can be an unwelcome source of stress or anxiety.

While there is no precise formula to determine what balance is right for you, being a student doesn’t mean you have to give up quality time with your loved ones during the holidays.

Relaxing during holidays

4 Keys to Success

When it comes to dividing time between work and play, here are some simple steps that you can take to have a memorable and productive holiday season.

Time management. It may sound cliché, but no one is more responsible for how you spend your time over the holidays than you are. Plan ahead, set realistic goals, prepare for the unexpected, and schedule time for the things that are important to you. For example, if it works with your schedule, study in the mornings and then bake, wrap, build snowmen with the kids, and watch holiday classics in the afternoons or evenings.

Push forward and avoid falling behind. Don’t let your schoolwork pile up over the holidays. Breakdown assignments into manageable segments. Try working for a set amount of time at the same time every day. Making schoolwork part of your regular routine gives your family a good sense of when you’ll be available for fun, festive activities.

Have a positive outlook. Try to think of coursework as time you are investing in for yourself, your future and the good of your family.

Include your family in your study routine. Encourage family members to quiz you with flashcards, post a calendar of your reading list or study schedule in a visible place (i.e. on the fridge), share what you’re learning or challenges you encounter, and communicate goals, objectives, and accomplishments.

6 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

We all know that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. When you start feeling overwhelmed, here are 6 ways to stay motivated, focused, calm, and balanced.

1. Take a deep breath.
2. Be present in the moment.
3. Exercise your mind and body.
4. Be grateful for what you have.
5. Volunteer—give the gift of time.
6. Recognize that others can be stressed too. Have patience. Smile. Forgive.

In a Nutshell

Although education is a stepping stone to enrichment, creative partnerships, and professional opportunities, studying for a new career involves a lot of time, effort, and preparation. Over the holidays, your schoolwork doesn’t need to consume or define you, but it should be something you make time for and take pride in!

“Enjoy the journey. This is not a dress rehearsal.” ~ John Savage

How to Find the Right Balance between Family and School

by South University 8 September 2014

Balancing your work life with family time can be a challenge on its own. Throw school into the mix and you have a demanding, but potentially very rewarding, mix to manage. Here are some ideas to help you make it through school without forgetting what your family looks like or missing out on important life moments.

Nurse with son

Become a Planner

No matter how complicated your schedule gets, you're golden as long as you can stay on top of it. Plan your school and work schedules out first, then sit down with your family and plan out the together times, from field trips to movie nights, that are most important to them.

Be Realistic

It may be tempting to pack your schedule to the gills, trusting that you'll figure it out along the way somehow. But being realistic from the start helps keep stress levels low and avoid disappointments. If you need an hour to get something done, plan an hour into your schedule -- not 30 minutes.

Stick to a Routine

From who cooks dinner to bedtimes and when homework gets done, establishing a household routine is like automating -- or at least streamlining -- everyday tasks. Clear expectations make life easier and give everyone a way of contributing to your success in school.

Make Lists

If it's on paper, you won't have to worry about keeping track of it in your head. Having both a daily to-do list and a long-term to-do list ensures that nothing falls by the wayside. The lists help you stay productive, too; if you can't bring yourself to tackle what you're supposed to be doing on a given day, just choose something else from the list.

Have a Family Night

Put your heads together and designate a family night where the only criteria is that you get together and have fun. Think pizza, board games, a favorite TV show, fun crafts or going for a bike ride. There are only two rules: Everybody's there, and no work or school work allowed during that time.

Delegate

There are only 24 hours in a day. So, if you hit a point where you just can't do everything, it's time to delegate! Turn to your family, friends, coworkers and schoolmates, depending on the challenge you're facing -- and ask for help.

A Little You Time

Meeting all the demands of work, school and family can leave you feeling like you're being pulled in many different directions. Make sure to schedule periodic down time to refresh and renew -- whether it's quiet time with a book, a short midday nap, or just five minutes to close your eyes and breathe.

Remember, you're in school for a reason. Although balancing school and family (or work and school and family) is a true challenge for anybody, you're working your way toward some very tangible successes and rewards. Hang in there and circle the family wagons -- you'll be ready to graduate before you know it!

What to Do When You Need Some Peace and Quiet

by South University 26 July 2014

Finding a quiet and distraction-free place to study is one of the most common study tips you probably hear. But what if you can’t find the perfect study space? If you’re having trouble focusing because you’re interrupted by roommates, your kids or even your own wandering mind, don’t stress ─ there are many ways to solve this problem.

Quiet

You don’t have to go to a silent library to get the most out of your study session. Instead, you simply need to know how to make the best of the space you have, whether it’s a coffee shop, home office or even a small space in the kitchen. Sometimes you just have to get a little creative.

1: Claim Your Territory

Find a room or space in your house and make sure everyone in your home knows that it will become your study space. If you are in a room where you can close the door, put a sign on it to indicate that you are studying so everyone knows not to disturb you. If your study space is the dining room table, find something to put on the table or hang from your chair that tells everyone you are studying, so they know not to distract you.

2: Get Rid of as Many Distractions as Possible

Turn your phone off completely or turn notification and text message sounds off so you can still receive phone calls if needed. Log out of everything on your computer that you don’t need for studying - i.e. Facebook, instant message services, email, etc. You might be surprised at how productive you are by completely eliminating all distractions. While it doesn’t take long to read a text message or post a Facebook status update, it breaks your concentration, making it difficult to get back on track.

3: Play Music with No Lyrics

If a completely quiet study space is not possible, try putting on music with no lyrics to help you tune out other distractions. Classical music is often recommended, as it is relaxing and peaceful, helping you to focus. While listening to a mix of your favorite tracks might be more fun, there’s a good chance you’ll want to focus more on the music than your coursework, which defeats the purpose. If possible, listen to your music with a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones to help you block out the world around you!

4: Anticipate Future Needs before Starting to Study

Think about what you or anyone in your home will need while you are studying so you can take care of it before you get started. Will you need a drink or snack while you’re studying? Maybe your kids will want a snack or to watch a movie? Does your roommate always seem to lose the TV remote as soon as you sit down to study? You’ll be less likely to be interrupted if you can fulfill these needs before you start studying. After taking care of these tasks, make it clear that you’re not available for the next hour or two, as you’ll be busy with schoolwork.

5 Ways to Study Smarter

by South University 1 May 2014

Whether you are in pursuit of your bachelor's degree or well on your way to achieving a master's, it's never too late to learn how to study smarter. While each student needs to find his or her own recipe for studying success, some basic tenets will help you avoid distractions and ineffective time management. Here are five things to consider integrating into your study habits so that you can keep your education on track and ace your next test or assignment.

Books to study1. Unplug

When Internet research can't be avoided and a connection is required for online classes, detaching from the online world might seem impossible. Still, it's wise to turn off as many electronic devices as possible and log out of social media sites even when you are online. Losing just a few seconds here and there as you cycle through your Facebook-Twitter-Instagram routine will add up to hours of wasted time in the long run.

2. Get a Study Buddy

Having someone else to keep you accountable is another way to stay on track. If you have an appointment at the library with a friend, chances are greater that you will be there at the time you originally planned. When you go it alone, it's easier to put off studying to a later time or leave early.

3. Race the Clock

Some things shouldn't be rushed, like proofreading your research paper or careful mathematical calculations. However, when it comes to something like piecing together an outline or organizing your flashcards -- create a competition against yourself. Set a timer for a reasonable number of minutes and aim to complete your task before the buzzer goes off. Give yourself a small reward, like a coffee break, when you succeed. This also allows you to break up your learning tasks into smaller goals -- another way to study smarter.

4. Don't Study Where You Sleep

Sure, sometimes you will wind up reading a book in bed. However, it's too easy to get distracted when you study in your bedroom, and you can even wind up disrupting your sleep schedule this way. When your brain makes a connection between studying and your bed, unwinding at night becomes more difficult. Instead, designate a desk in your home or the library to be your study spot.

5. Time it Right

Be honest with yourself about when you are most alert and productive. Have you been trying to study at night when your brain is simply sharper and better conditioned for learning in the morning? If that's the case, get in a good study session every day before noon. In time, it will become natural to pick up your textbook just after finishing breakfast.

Top 3 Qualities of a Successful Online Student

by Administrator 10 December 2013

For many students, taking online classes is simply more practical than driving to a campus and sitting in a classroom at a designated time. The convenience factor alone makes it a great option for those with strict schedules. As an online student you have the flexibility to decide when and where you attend class, but earning your degree still requires a significant amount of time and effort.

Education conceptWe’ve noticed that successful students often share certain traits. Do you also have these critical skills? Working to sharpen these qualities can help you succeed in online learning and beyond.

1. You are organized.

Staying organized is critical for success in any arena, and online learning is no exception. Missed assignments - in both academic and work life - can affect your advancement opportunities. However, technology can make it a bit easier to stay on schedule. Sync your calendar with school deadlines so it sends automatic reminders about projects and assignments. An up-to-date calendar is among the most useful organizational tools available to most online students.

2. You excel at time management.

Successful students prioritize their education. You can still complete your work in time to go out and have fun, but school comes first. Once you make the commitment to your education, it's crucial to take a hard look at your current schedule. Keep in mind, regardless of the format, every class requires a certain amount of in-class time and at-home study.

Careful time management is the foundation for staying on task and on schedule. Be prepared to miss out on some social activities, and plan for the ones you definitely do not want to miss. When you stay focused and committed to your program, you can reach graduation and experience the reward of earning your degree.

3. You aren’t afraid to ask for help.

Your classroom material will provide much of the academic information you need, but there will be times when you need extra help. There is no shame in asking, and, you will find no shortage of people at South University who want to help you. Your instructor offers a valuable resource for learning how to apply textbook knowledge to real life situations. You can also find on-demand tutoring in the Classroom, and don’t forget that the Online Librarian, Tech Support, Counseling Center staff, and your Academic Counselor are also here to help.

Never hesitate to ask questions of your instructor, your peers or anyone else. The more information you gather, the better you will do in and out of the classroom. There are no bad questions—except for the ones you never ask.

Become the Student You Want to Be

Getting organized, managing your study time and asking for help when you need it can pave the way for you to succeed. Prioritize these skills and you can join the ranks of successful alumni who have earned a degree from South University!