New Years Resolutions For The Distance Learner
There are sixty-four days left until New Years Eve. Now is the time to start thinking about the New Years resolutions that you intend to make. If you are a distance learner there are some New Years resolutions that you need to make to ensure your continued success as an online student.
- Resolution #1: Resolve to become organized in 2011
- Resolution #2: Resolve to stop procrastinating
- Resolution #3: Resolve to find an area to call your home office
- Resolution #4: Resolve to develop an online social life
- Resolution #5: Resolve to keep your resume current
- Resolution #6: Resolve to find ways to save money on your distance learning
- Resolution #7: Resolve to spend time with your family
- Resolution #8: Resolve to speed up getting your degree
- Resolution #9: Resolve to update your software and hardware
- Resolution #10: Resolve to celebrate your successes
In the 21st century, we are, or we need to become, life-long learners. Life-long learning can be defined as the continuous building of skills and knowledge throughout the life of an individual. There was a time when only members of certain professions had to continue studying after leaving school to stay abreast of the changes taking place in their chosen occupations, but that's no longer the case. In today's high-tech society, everyone needs to be life-long learners. The computer revolution has made this an easily achievable goal through Distance Learning.
I received my first degree, a B.Sc. In applied electrical engineering in the traditional manner. I have also earned three degrees as a distance learner. If you are contemplating becoming a distance learner, here are a few New Year Resolutions that you can resolve to make now that will help you succeed as an online student.
Resolution #1: Resolve to become organized in 2011
Getting organized means having a place to study where you have everything you need within an arms reach. Your hard copy reference books, textbooks, etc. should all be within an arms reach of your computer. In my home office, my most often used reference books, and loose-leaf binders are held on a wall mounted shelf, directly to the left of my keyboard. All the other books that I use in my studies and in my writing are in a bookcase behind my office chair. I can spin around and reach any book that I might need without getting out of my chair. Getting organized means bookmarking all the online reference sites that you use so you don't have to type in their URL or search for them each time you need them. Having to get up to retrieve a book or search for an online reference site when you need them is a waste of your valuable time.
Resolution #2: Resolve to stop procrastinating
Procrastination is one of the biggest enemies of every distance learner. Without having to face your teachers every day, it's much too easy to put off studying the material until the last minute. To help you overcome procrastination, develop a list of the benefits you will receive from earning your degree. Develop a list of how you will benefit from your studies as you work towards your degree. Post those lists conspicuously over your computer where you see them constantly.
Resolution #3: Resolve to find an area to call your home office
I touched upon this in resolution #1, you truly do need a home office even if you don't work from home. A home office gives you a place to go where you can shut out distraction. Having a home office to go to make it easier to let people in your home know that you're not to be disturbed unless it's a real emergency. Your home office doesn't have to be a separate room in your home with a door that you can close, as my home office is, it can be just a corner in your bedroom or some other room. The fact that you are in your home office area sends the same signal, “I'm working. Don't disturb me.” A home office or home office area, also helps you remember that you are there to work/study.
Resolution #4: Resolve to develop an online social life
One of the big attractions of the traditional college campus over an online campus is the social life. With a brick and mortar campus, it natural to interact with one's fellow students in and out of the classrooms. With a brick and mortar campus, it's much more natural to develop relationships with your instructors. Those interactions lead to lifelong friendships and professional networks. The same can, and must be achieved in the online classrooms. The contacts that you make from interacting in the online classroom develop into valuable business contacts and professional references.
Resolution #5: Resolve to keep your resume current
If you have an online resume, and you should have online resumes posted on all the most popular resume sites, you need to keep it current. Your online resume needs to reflect your most recent educational achievement. Every course you complete successfully increases your value to potential employers. You newest achieved skill may be just the skills a particular employer need in an employee he or she is seeking. You need to make editing your resume a part of each semester's activities.
Resolution #6: Resolve to find ways to save money on your distance learning
There are many ways to save money on distance learning. There are scholarships and grants that you can apply for. Many online schools allow you to download your texts for free as an alternative to purchasing the hard copy textbooks from the schools online bookstore. There is a multitude of online sites that sell used textbooks at deep discounts. If you want the actual textbooks, find out what books you will need before the semester starts and then order them from one of those online vendors. You can also save money through tax breaks the IRS and many states offer students.
Resolution #7: Resolve to spend time with your family
It's remarkably easy to become obsessed with one's online studies and forget all about your family and loved ones. You must learn to balance your online studies and social life with your family life. This may be one of the hardest resolutions to keep but keep it you must. I will confess that it's not always easy for me to keep it. As a full-time writer and a life-long learner, it's terribly easy for me to forget about my wife, kids, and grand kids at times. My four legged children don't allow me to forget them. It's not fair to your family or yourself to not develop a balance between your study needs and your family's needs.
Resolution #8: Resolve to speed up getting your degree
You can speed up getting your degree by applying to take tests offered by your school for “Life Experience” credits.
Resolution #9: Resolve to update your software and hardware
Having state of the art technology and software makes the online learning experience easier and more enjoyable. One of the must important things is your monitor. You will be spending a great deal of time online and you need a large monitor. A 17-inch monitor is the smallest that I recommend. A 19-inch or 21-inch is ideal.
Resolution #10: Resolve to celebrate your successes
Every time you complete a course with the minimum grade that you have decided upon a head of time, celebrate. Go out to dinner with your wife or significant other. Treat yourself to a glass or two of champagne. Celebrate by buying yourself a new hat, the important thing is to treat yourself to something special for a job well done.
Well, I could think of many more New Year Resolutions that you could make, but these are the most important ones.