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Learning to ‘Just Keep Swimming’ Through Procrastination

Posted by Open Polytechnic , 23 August 2016 · 1312 views

online learning distance learning procrastination
Learning to ‘Just Keep Swimming’ Through Procrastination Recently I saw the film ‘Finding Dory’ about a fish that inspires people with her mantra, ‘just keep swimming’. One look at her adorable animated eyes and her upbeat attitude and I was thoroughly convinced that I could achieve anything in life. But what is it like in real life to be that optimistic? With work and other life commitments, tackling a big assignment can lead to feeling more overwhelmed than anything else.

In my experience of studying by distance however, I often have a hard time channeling my inner Dory and can sometimes feel overwhelmed, which leads to procrastination. The hardest thing about distance study for me is that none of my friends are there to motivate me, and no one really wants to sit and hear about said theorist who has a name that no one can pronounce. Here are two tips that I use to make sure I ‘keep on swimming’ through my studies:

1. You only get out what you put in.

I always try to remember the reasons why I am studying and the goals that I am trying to work towards. I know it just like I know that eating potato wedges with cheese for months is what contributed to me putting on 4kg. And I know how hard it is to then have to go back to eating salads with dreaded chickpeas. I always say to myself, “do you know how disappointed you will be if you don’t put in your best effort?” and that usually pushes me.

2. Know your lifelines.

Even optimistic Dory needed Nemo and Marlin to help her reach her goals. When I first started studying, I hadn’t met my teacher and I didn’t know how to ask for help. Worst of all, I felt intimidated because I felt that everyone else was smarter than me and would think I was stupid or out of my depth. So I didn’t ask questions because it felt like I was confronting that insecurity. This is the worst thing you could do. First of all, most of the class is there to learn because they don’t know - just like you. Secondly, no one else in the class is responsible for your grades – only you are. Your teacher is the one person who can give you the perspective and insight you need, and is also personally invested in your grades. I was surprised at how helpful my lecturers were when I asked for help, whether it was by email, phone or online forums.
The trick is that if you are faced with a difficult assignment, don’t tackle it yourself, have people that are you supportive lifelines to help you keep swimming.

Lao Tzu said that the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. To study by distance is a journey and sometimes the courage to walk that journey can come from not only your own effort, but also from the support you have around you.


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Marni Adlam is an Open Polytechnic business student and member of the Student Advisory Group who currently works in the not-for-profit sector. In the future, Marni hopes to develop a social enterprise focused on alleviating poverty.

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