Outfacing the toughest challenges with studying online/at home

 Many people are aware that career advancement hinges as much on upskilling as on accumulated experience. Yet studying for a significant qualification to improve career satisfaction and career progression often seems daunting. The only way of financing further advanced study is, for most, to remain in full-time employment.But trying to balance that with studying for an advanced degree, often while managing family commitments, can seem impossible.

Thankfully, a solution is to hand for those with the determination and mettle to grasp it: an accelerated postgraduate degree in one’s chosen field. Online study means removing the major hurdle of traveling to and from campus- but other challenges will definitely need to be managed.

Wilkes University, for example, offers a highly-regarded online, accelerated Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) for qualified nurses who wish to advance in their clinical practice. It enablesnurse practitioners who hold a Master of Science in Nursing to upgrade that MSN to DNP status – but it’s always wise to be prepared for the challenges of online study at such an advanced level.

Here are some of the toughest challenges – and how to cope with them.

Procrastination (Solution: Time management)

Precisely because gaining an advanced online qualification is so challenging, one of the biggest enemies of remote learners is their own inclination to postpone study sessions and crucial assignment work. “I’m too tired,”“I need to zone out with the TV for a while,” etc. – all are familiar temptations for online learners. It’s vital to anticipate that these seductive little whispers will enter one’s mind.

Start planning a schedule around daily and weekly goals as soon as you know what the course entails. Prioritize small study tasks every day to stop them piling up into mounds of off-putting, unmanageable chores.

And build in rewards – like family time, friends time, TV time, gym time, etc., that are conditional upon your completionof those tasks. No task, no reward (without guilt).

Isolation (Solution: Ensure you make time for connecting with other students as well as friends and family)

Studying on-campus has certain advantages – a friendly circle of supportive fellow students who share similar concerns about the course. Online students need to be aware that those friendship circles are less likely to grow spontaneously as they would on campus.

You’ll need to build them, scheduling online get-togethers in online forums and student discussions through apps like Zoom or WhatsApp.

And don’t neglect “real world” friends and family. Precisely because your available social time will be more limited, you’re best advised to “get organized” about arranging these contacts regularly enough to stop youfeeling isolated and lonely.

Loss of confidence (Solution: Always speak up about it)

Parts of the course are going to be intellectually tough. If you don’t understand something or you’re struggling, there’s a higher risk of getting lost and left behind with online study – unless you get into the habit of speaking up.Never succumb to the fear of being judged as ‘dim.’ Speak to tutors as soon as you’re aware that you’re stuck.

You won’t be alone unless you slip into isolation by failing to reach out for online support from your college.

Huge numbers of people are getting qualified for healthcare careers online – managing these core challenges well will help secure that coveted advanced qualification for advancing your career.

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