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OC honestly: Samantha, Learning Support Officer and Events Management student

by Samantha Gilmour

Hello! In this new series, OC honestly, I’ll share my (honest) thoughts on study and my personal journey with you… and give you something to read other than your course materials. Over the duration of the next year I will be blogging about what it is like to be an online student, I’ll share my trials and tribulations, no doubt some hours procrastinating, and hopefully a few wins along the way.

Who am I?

I am Samantha and I work at Open Colleges as a Learning Support Officer (if you haven’t heard of us you may just want to book an appointment with us here). I help students through their learning journey from the initial induction, to help with academic writing, referencing, and study plans with the main aim of helping you graduate.

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What am I studying and why?

I have just started to study the Diploma of Events Management  to help me obtain the skills I need for a personal project. In February I signed up to go visit a charity in Cambodia later this year. To be eligible to go, you must first raise $10,000 to go directly to the cause. I have a passion for fundraising and I like to think it is something I am good at. No matter how good I am, this is a big task, not to be taken lightly.

This got me thinking, what if I mixed my passion for fundraising and my love for education, so that I can learn some new skills? My goals are to use what I learn in this course to fundraise for the charities close to my heart. One day, I hope to be running events for one of these charities in addition to advancing my career in education. After all, education is key to everything!

So I started this course, now all I have to do is study, put pen to paper (or nowadays finger to keyboard) and get submitting those assessments. Easy!

Expect the unexpected

We all have busy lives and I really think that the hardest part is getting started. I set aside some time to study last weekend and my partner got sick, which meant lots of TLC and nursing for him and no study for me. It seemed like everything that could go wrong did go wrong. It even got rather comical when I decided to print out a timetable to stick on my fridge only to get home to find out that my fridge had stopped working!

But again it is all about the bigger picture and remembering the end goal.
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Getting started

Below are a few things that helped me get started:

  1. Schedule your time – I am a big believer in planning and scheduling my time. If you have a million things to do in the next week, it’s natural that something will be forgotten if you don’t write it down. I personally like to use my calendar in my emails and phone to plan but I also have a printed timetable on my fridge. You may find these printables useful, from The Organized Student.
  2. Find your spot – Finding somewhere you can study is also important. I find it difficult to study if my house is a mess and things need to be done. Find a quiet area where you are relaxed and feel comfortable. I study on my balcony and in a local bookstore/cafe. This way you are less likely to be distracted and can focus on the task at hand.
  3. No distractions – Turn your phone off, log out of social media, no TV in the background. I personally like to listen to music while I study and find it helps me relax and stay focused. I find instrumental music works for me so that I do not end up singing or dancing across the living room, leaving my books lacking attention.
  4. Set goals – This is important when you are studying a course with no deadlines. You will need to set your own goals so that you stay on track. It also helps if you tell people what your goals are so that you are accountable to that person. Setting goals for each study session is also important and it means that you have a clear task or objective in mind to work towards.
  5. Reward yourself – Make sure that you treat yourself after you reach your goals. On my timetable, I have clearly set out the tasks to complete and the reward I get once I do that. Your reward can be simple things like a cupcake and coffee or dinner with friends. This way, you can use your rewards to keep a balance between study and your social life.

Now, only 10 modules, 33 assessments, and 312 hours work placement to go.

Stay tuned…

Ready for your next challenge?

If you’re ready to get back to work, login to OpenSpace now or, if you think studying online might be right for you, browse over 100 courses here. Whether you want to follow a passion, change careers or get that promotion, Open Colleges can help.

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