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To ask for study tips because I'm really struggling?

9 replies

rickandmorts · 17/10/2018 14:42

I really need help! I've started an accelerated top-up degree through work, it's one year studying and tops up my HND into a full honors degree. But... I can't do it Angry. I'm 2 weeks into studying and should be doing 30 hours a week on top of working full time (so a few hours every night and some at the weekend) but every time I sit down and do it I just get this sense of rising panic, nausea, I get all flushed and hot and think I can't do this and just can't focus or concentrate! It doesn't help I'm not enjoying my job at the moment so can't motivate myself at all. When I talk to friends they just say I need to get my head down and do it which I know I do, I just don't seem able to! I was crying to my mum the other day and she just said 'oh for fuck's sake just cancel the course then!' but I can't because work have paid 9 grand for it and they want me to do the course to progress. What the fuck do I do? I'm 2 weeks in and my brain just won't work or concentrate.

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SunnyForMe · 17/10/2018 15:10

Hey OP. Deep breaths. I did a similar accelerated course a few years ago so understand how overwhelming it can all be.

One thing that I found helped me was ignoring the "expected" study hours. It doesn't matter how long you work - all that matters is that you get through it. Therefore it's about technique rather than time.

Skim read things. Highlight strategically. Go back and make notes. If you're too tired to take something in, record yourself reading it aloud and listen to it later (like when you're commuting/on your breaks). Make mind maps. Focus on the course objectives and make notes for each point. Basically, get the bare bones done. You can build on it as you go if you get the foundations done. It's amazing how much you can understand when you decide to focus on the basics and build on that. It's stops waffling and makes sure that you truly get what the course is trying to teach you. It also makes it feel a lot less overwhelming.

Some anxiety is natural, but if you're feeling it's taking over do consider taking steps to address it. Take breaks. Try mindfulness techniques. Go for a workout. Consider going to the doctor if it is really interfering with your life. Some anxiety is okay, but don't let it stop you from succeeding. You've been accepted to study a very tough degree. That's impressive, and shows that you are extremely capable. Remember that.

Good luck. You've got this Brew Cake Flowers

redexpat · 17/10/2018 15:12

Visualise the panic as a cushion and sit on it. Do half an hour. Chances are youll be in full swing and will keep going.

rickandmorts · 17/10/2018 15:23

Thanks Sunny that's really helpful Flowers. It is SO overwhelming, especially as I'm the only one to join on the third year, plus I'm the only female and the youngest by about 20/30 years (it's an engineering management course) so I feel like I've got to desperately try and prove myself. Everyone was saying 'oh you must be bright to join later' but that's the thing, I feel so stupid and just like my brain won't work. I will definitely do what you said though and just start with the basics. I do suffer anxiety but haven't had an attack in a while, I'm going to make a GP appt and get a prescription for my medication to see if that helps calm me down a bit about it all.

Thanks red, I will try that and hopefully that will help me get stuck in.

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DolceFarNiente · 17/10/2018 16:05

Great advice by Sunny. I second the skim reading and highlighting, reminding yourself you don't have to understand/remember everything at this point. It really takes the pressure off. Then you can go back and take notes or write main points on little cards based on the highlighted parts at a later date, eg. at the weekend, before having to do an assignment or exam.

I also agree that you shouldn't focus too much on the recommended study hours. For mine, they recommended 35 hours per week but I did 5. However, I then reviewed all my highlighted material before assignments so dedicated a lot more hours to revision as opposed to 'vision' if that makes sense. The assignments had deadlines so I was forced to make a big effort for them - that's where my hours of hard work went, not so much the weekly study they suggest.

Thenewdoctor · 17/10/2018 16:08

Read smart not in detail. Skim read as much as you can. Use a highlighter or post it’s to mark important points.

If there’s a cheat book for the modules buy it and learn the salient points.

It’s what? Week 2 or 3? They won’t expect miracles x

tiggerkid · 17/10/2018 16:12

I would suggest taking it a small step at a time and making sure you have realistic expectations. So, for example, don't sit down and say you will read 10 chapters and take notes from all of them. How about sitting down and starting really small and I mean really small like today you will start with 1 paragraph. Tomorrow another one. I know it may sound pathetic and laughable to some but you seem to have some kind of panic associated with the whole undertaking and the cost paid by your employer, so you need to get over this panic first. When you've taken a few of these tiny steps, your mind will start thinking it's not so bad and then maybe you can move on to a page a day and then 5 pages a day etc. Before you know it, you will be reading chapters and chapters and won't think much of it. Good luck :)

diymania · 17/10/2018 16:22

Do you have access to a tutor? Or is there someone else at work that has done something similar that you could talk to? Is it that you feel you don’t understand the stuff or that you’re struggling to do the assignments?

And are you just being put into year 3 with students who have already done the previous 2 years? I think that’s bound to be overwhelming and I’d be asking your tutor or the lecturers for a bit of extra help or advice.

Remember also that while you’ll bring a really good actual work focused perspective to your studies that the young ‘uns are unlikely to have.

Could you also speak to work and see if for an interim period you could take some time to adjust to doing the course. They’ll want to make the most of their investment in you - they believe in you - so hopefully should be looking to support you with some short term measures.

Allthebubbles · 17/10/2018 20:12

I work much better in the morning- I know it's not feasible for everyone or achievable but I would set an alarm an hour earlier and work in pjs with a cup of tea and then get on with the day. Also you will have a natural deadline of having to go to work so it's not like you will be sitting down thinking I must do three hrs or whatever, but just I'll get something done before work. If you are at all a morning person I think it would work better and not be looming over you. I'd do the same on the weekend but not so early and plan something nice for the afternoon/ evening so you feel like you still have a life
I'd second other people saying don't worry too much about the advised hrs, do what you can and focus on the assignments. The course I did advised a lot more than you actually needed to do.

rickandmorts · 18/10/2018 10:53

Hey everyone, thanks for your replies they have made me feel better  and yes I'm the only one to join on the third year so I feel very arghhh at being thrown into it! I emailed my course tutor last night, I was even intimated doing that as he's super bright and has about 3 PHDs but he's replied this morning and was nice and supportive and I feel a bit better about it all now. Thanks all. X

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