- Website: www.wits.ac.za/part-time
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- Twitter: @witsplus
The demands of our modern knowledge-driven society play an important role in many people’s decision to take up further study.
The reasons that mature students decide to study part-time can be divided mainly into work/career aspirations and personal aspirations.
Why do people study part-time?
In terms of work/career aspirations, many mature students hope that further education (a degree, in many instances) will help them to develop the skills they need to remain relevant in a fast-changing world. Others hope to increase their chances of promotion or career progression, to improve their earning potential or even just for job security.
Personal motivations include those students always wanted to study and did not have opportunity to do so before. Some hope to be able to provide better for their families when they complete their studies, linking to the financial reward of better education enabling better employment opportunities.
Many mature students want to study simple for the interest and enjoyment of it.
Staying motivated to study
The biggest obstacles that part-time students face include time management, personal problems like family responsibilities and medical issues, and work commitments interfering with their studies (taking study leave, assignment deadlines, etc.).
Break it down
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the million-and-a-half things you need to do, try to break down your to-do list into a manageable list of priorities.
This will help you to identify all the important deadlines, as well as the steps you need to complete in order to achieve these milestones. Being organised will help you to feel more in control and the overwhelmed feeling can become a sense of achievement as you tick things off your list.
A personalised weekly schedule
Everyone has a different approach to study, so it’s important that you work out a weekly schedule that works for you. Figure out whether it’s better to do some studying each night, or if it works better for you to spend a block of time on a weekend to study and complete tasks.
A personalised schedule means factoring in work, family, life and study commitments –and not neglecting yourself! If you love a morning workout, or you have a weekly lunch date with a friend, make sure that your schedule also allows time for these activities.
Study in a positive space
You might have a designated office space, even if it’s your kitchen table. However, there are many places where you can study – the library, the park, on the train or bus, or at home – what works best entirely depends on the individual student. For example, if you don’t like distractions and you share a home, then a library may work better.
Mixing up your study locations can also keep things interesting – if it’s a beautiful day outside, reading in the park or garden may be just what you need to keep your motivation flowing.
Enjoy the journey
A positive attitude goes a long way to keep you motivated for your part-time study journey. Think of the reasons why you started studying in the first place.
Remember that you believed in yourself enough to invest in your own professional development to further your career and to improve yourself.
Are you ready to take on the challenge of combining work and study in 2017? Wits Plus, the Centre for Part-Time Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, accommodates working professionals who want to further their studies by offering access to a range of accredited short courses and degrees on an after-hours basis.