July Executive Blog

It’s right in the middle of summer and many students are enjoying a nice break away from studies.  As an AU student, however, “summer break” is a little different.   If you are like me, it means you are continuing studies with all the kids now home demanding attention.  Am I jealous of my post-secondary friends who are out enjoying their summer break? Maybe at times, but while they may get a two-month summer break, they are missing out on the flexibility I have.  If I want, I can travel anywhere in the world, right in the middle of a semester, and I can bring my studies with me.

When you go to convocation you get to hear so many stories about how AU’s flexibility helped students succeed without having to give up employment, family, sports, travel, etc.  This flexibility is great, but a common question we hear is how do you manage to keep on track with courses?  I am entering my eighth year of studies at AU, and I am still trying to master this concept.  The bottom line is that everyone has to find out what works for them, but I thought that I would share what I have found helps me.

 The main thing that helps me is having a special study space.  When I started at AU that was easy.  I had quit my job so that I could do full-time studies and I had no kids.  That meant that I could go into my office and just focus on ploughing through courses.  That was a great semester, however, a different reality soon hit when I went back to work.  Then my children came along, and it became harder and harder to find a quiet place to study and focus.  Now I have found that when I am taking classes, I need to either study first thing in the morning before work or I need to study out of my house.  If I study before work, the kids are not awake, and I find I am able to focus and get through more readings and assignments.  If I need more time than just in the morning, I will go to a library or some other quiet location outside of my workspace so that I am not pulled into work.

The other thing I have learned is how to cram when it comes down to it.  From talking to many fellow AU students, I am not alone in finding myself a month away from my contract date with half a course still left.  While not as ideal, it is sometimes a necessity to cram through a class. What I have found helps is to review the key objectives and assignments associated with the unit readings first.  Once I know the key points, I am able to skim through the readings, trying to spend more time on reviewing the topics that I know will be on my assignments.

These things have helped me, but if you want more suggestions, make sure to check out our new podcast, AUSU Open Mic. Our latest episode features an interview with our executive team where everyone shares what study tips they found work for them.

Good luck with your studies!

Brandon Simmons
AUSU President