Woman at a computer smiling

Returning to study (after a long break)

So you’ve decided on returning to study after a long break. Go you! It must feel great to know you’ve made a big decision that will lead to the future you hope for. However, we know it can also be a little daunting if it’s been a while since you last whipped out the textbooks.

These handy tips to help get you back into a learning mindset – and ready to ace your degree.

Have a vision of ‘future you’

Your dream career and life could be just around the corner. What’s sparked your decision to go ‘back to school’? Perhaps your sights are set on formalising your skills and knowledge with a recognised qualification, Maybe you want to upgrade your qualifications, or even change career paths. Whatever your reason, keep your original motivation as a constant reminder for why you’re choosing to study. Having a clear vision of the end goal – your future career – will help you succeed.

Set SMART goals when returning to study (and reward yourself!)

One of the best ways to get back into study is to set yourself some good old-fashioned SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound goals will be your new best friend.

SMART goals break down your goals into achievable steps. They can also provide the clarity, focus and motivation you need to make your goals happen. For example, say you’re a volunteer but would like to take your experience to a professional level. Set a SMART goal to achieve paid employment in the industry. You could do this by studying a university degree and giving yourself a timeframe of the next four years. Once you start kicking goals and ticking off your tasks, be sure to treat yourself for your hard work with a reward.

Create a study space

Celebrate your decision to get back into study by creating the perfect study environment where you’ll be able to give 100 per cent of your attention to your studies and get those creative ideas flowing. The location should have natural light and fresh air, and be a comfortable, organised space. It’s where you’ll dedicate yourself to writing essays, reading textbooks, engaging in interactive learning and watching lectures – so make it comfortable. Make sure your study space is free from distraction, gives you access to all the learning materials you’ll need and has a nutritious selection of study snacks on hand as well as plenty of water to keep hydrated.

Choose flexible study

If it’s been a while since you’ve last studied or you wear a few more hats now than you did when you were in high school, it’s a good idea to give yourself some flexibility in your study schedule. Creating a study timetable around your work and personal commitments will help you to decide when your designated study sessions will be.

At Charles Sturt University, we design our courses with flexibility in mind. They can accommodate even the busiest of individuals. Our students include parents, working professionals and also globetrotters studying abroad. Studying at your own pace and from almost anywhere in the world gives you greater freedom to make study work for you. You could also brush up on your skills with a Study Link subject before you start your course.

Connect with other learners

When studying with us, you’re part of our family. You’ll not only have the support of our friendly staff but also our diverse student community. Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. Many of them have jumped back into study (just like you) after spending time working in industry.

There are plenty of opportunities to connect with your fellow students. Online forums, our social media networks, intensive schools, on-campus events, our Facebook group especially for Charles Sturt students – when it comes to making connections, we’ve got you covered.

We also offer an extensive range of support services and clubs and societies to keep you plugged in to our community.

As an enrolled Charles Sturt student, you can also access our mentoring program. The program is run by experienced students who can offer tips on how to balance study and life. You could receive weekly emails from a mentor. Alternatively, you may be able to join a course-specific Facebook mentor group. There are nearly 30 such Facebook groups and the list is set to grow this year.

Ready for returning to study?

If you’re ready for returning to study and want to see how Charles Sturt University can help you reach your dream career, get in touch. Our friendly advisers are on hand to connect with you in any way you choose. Grab a coffee. Pull up a chair. Let’s explore your study options today.