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How to persevere through a difficult course

Created on Mon, 29/09/2014 - 09:43 by Polly Foster 

We’ve all been there – you start off your new course full of excitement and enthusiasm, then a couple of weeks later you wonder why you ever started. It could be that the course is more demanding than you expected, or perhaps life got in the way and you feel you don’t have the time to dedicate to the course any more.

sometimes you just have to keep walking

Image via Flickr

Whatever your reasons, here are some tips for getting back on track.

Remind yourself of why you started in the first place

When you were browsing Open2Study’s huge list of classes, there must have been something about your current course that caught your eye and made you choose it over all the others on offer. Perhaps it was related to a project you’re a part of at work, maybe you took it in the hopes of changing career, or maybe you just enrolled for fun because it looked interesting.

If you can think back and remind yourself why you started the course in the first place, it might rekindle your passion for the topic and inspire you to keep going and achieve your goals.

Block out time to dedicate to your course

If it feels like you’re slipping behind with deadlines and you’re constantly having to catch up, it could be that you need to schedule study time into your week. Set aside a few hours to dedicate to your Open2Study course – preferably the same hours each week so you get into a routine. Let your friends and family know that you cannot be disturbed at these times, so you don’t get distracted. You need to be strict with yourself to make this work - resist the urge to check emails or browse the internet when you should be studying!

In a way, it is a luxury to have a few hours simply to dedicate to yourself and to learning. If you think of these study hours as a treat rather than a chore, you might find you are more motivated to complete your course.

Use the forums to discuss difficult topics

Each Open2Study course has a forum where you can interact with your classmates from around the world. If your passion for your subject is still there but you’re finding one topic particularly challenging, it might help to talk to your fellow students in the forums. Asking for help in this way lets you clarify anything you’re unsure about, and you might find out that other people are finding bits of the course tricky as well.

Although I love online learning, one unfortunate aspect of it is that learners generally cannot ask their tutors questions during the class. The forums solve this problem by letting students learn from each other, and you might find that taking part in this community helps you persevere with your course. 

Read around the topic

As well as asking your classmates in the forums about those difficult topics, you can also do your own research on the course material. This could be as simple as googling the bits that are making the course difficult for you. You could also see if your local library has any books that could help you - that way you’ll be an expert when you come back online!

This might seem like obvious advice, but if you don’t understand something at first, reading information worded in a slightly different way can sometimes make the most fiendishly difficult subject suddenly become crystal clear.

Put it on hold for now and come back later

If you really don’t have time to get the most out of the course right now, there is no shame in taking a break and coming back to it later. This is the great thing about Open2Study courses – they run every five weeks so you never have to worry that an opportunity is gone forever if you decide to leave part way through. There is no point in completing the course but being unable to recall anything you’ve learned because you rushed and were too busy with other things.

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself by stressing out about your course. Taking a break doesn’t mean you’ve failed or given up, it just means that you’ve made a sensible decision to continue when you’re feeling ready.

Have you ever found a course tricky, or difficult to fit around your other commitments? How did you solve your problem? Let me know in the comments!

Polly Foster is a guest blogger with Open2Study


This post comes to you from our guest blogger, Polly Foster.

A recent graduate, Polly is currently working at the University of Bath helping students develop entrepreneurial skills. Studying digital marketing part-time and with a passion for education, careers and all things creative, she would love to make a living as a freelance writer.

Would you like to blog for us? Get in touch using the Feedback tab at the bottom right of this website, with your ideas for a blog post (or two) and some links to samples of your writing.


Hello and thanks so much for the sound advice
As life-long-learners it will serve us well until the end of our time as well as all those to whom we'll be passing it on to. And the ramifications I.t.o. rewards for you...are AWESOME!
Thanks again.

Thanks Polly! This is great advice for all online students anywhere in the world. I would endorse this article anywhere!

Hi polly,

Need suggestion on How should we keep track of review part ???
After completing a small course or topic .

Thanks the tips! As a slow learner, I find it hard to keep up an online course if it forces me to read many group of words and sentences and, watch lengthy videos that exceeds for more than 15 minutes. This is also my problem in real-life studying as my brain don't function well enough when there is too much information to absorb.

What I do is I highlight the keywords and just write a very short description of what it means or what is related to it. When I have to enumerate and sort information by categories, I do it all on a piece of paper and then write it all over again on a notebook. After taking notes, I will take a break from studying and in the next free time, I will be reviewing my notes before I take the assessment test. It takes a lot of effort but at least, it helps me remember the important keywords easily and keep written notes with me off-screen (without straining my eyes too much).

Thanks Polly! This is great advice for all online students anywhere in the world. I a real victim of such illusion, but God will with your advice I hope to change my through about online studies. And I will also share your article to my peers interesting in online studies. Thank you ones again

Hello,I am Donnette on my second week and are having a bad time as my son father have past away but I am determine to complete..inspite my challenge, I read to get it all out of my mind...never give up no matter what challenges you have.

Thanks Polly Foster for sharing your insights, reading the the tips really encourages oneself much more than before.

The general rule of thumb is that do a similar math with your own calendar and plan accordingly. One of the most talented and technically sound academic work done require superb in researching and producing top quality content through existing knowledge and also Assignment Help Online UK and considerably more in case I'm being realistic about the amount the aim of understanding and relating the ideas of the text and the goals of the course.

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