People looking to change profession or upskill in their careers are increasingly returning to study, bringing with them a range of skills, knowledge, and experiences. Whilst this an exciting challenge, it can also be a difficult adjustment. If you have returned to study this year you may already have noticed that there are competing demands on your attention. Regardless of whether your study is full-time or part-time, on-campus or online, there are tools and techniques that can make adjusting to study a little easier.

Where to start?

If it has been a while since you were in formal education it might be beneficial to take a quick look at the basics. The Library Guides Home page has several guides to help you get started. Find out about Moodle, how to access eBooks, and how to use Library Search to find relevant resources for your assignments.

Prioritising and organising

Returning students often have trouble finding time to study. And while balancing study with competing responsibilities is never easy, there are some things you can do to make it a little easier. Creating a weekly schedule is a useful way to plan for and prioritise study around your other commitments. You can see this previous post for more information and resources on time management. It’s also important to be flexible in your planning and leave time for unforeseen events.

People with busy lives can find it difficult to set aside blocks of time for study. You can try micro study sessions of 30 minutes which you can fit around other activities. Using study techniques such as the Pomodoro method can help you break study up into manageable chunks. If you are studying on the move, then try using study apps and software such as Grammarly, OneNote, or Notion for grammar, note taking, and task management.

Finding support

If you need advice there are a variety of sources for you to turn to. Students may attend drop-ins at any of Monash’s libraries and speak with experts about research skills and academic writing. Alternatively Research and Learning online provides information and tutorials on a number of subjects, from writing styles to citing and referencing. Additionally, post-graduate students are able to schedule consultations with Subject Librarians and Learning Skills Advisers in person or via email or phone.

The Mature Aged and Part-Time Students association (MAPS) is a great place to speak to people facing similar challenges to you. They provide facilities and run events to support and encourage the MAPS community. To learn more about their services and subscribe to their newsletter send them an email (msa-maps@monash.edu)

Returning to study can be a daunting experience where new students feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information, especially within the first few weeks. By planning and proactively seeking information, help, and support, the experience can instead be an exciting step towards a new or better career.

Writers Susie Phillips and Lenise Prater are the Library’s Social Inclusion specialists.

Image: Marvin Meyer on Unsplash