Ask Cara – Finding the Time to Do Your Course

In our brand-new column, our own Cara Gage answers student questions on whatever issue they are experiencing with their studies. 

Dear Cara, 

I’m really enjoying the course, but I am having a hard time finding the time to actually do it. 

I’m studying the Poultry course, and when I get into it, I can read a lesson and then be raring to go for the assignments, then life gets in the way. I’m working part-time while running a household full-time with three kids all under 10! 

I don’t know when I’m supposed to find the time to do this, and I feel like I may have overcommitted to this course when I just don’t have a spare moment to study. 

Please help! 

Mum in the Midlands 

Cara Replies:

Hi Mum in the Midlands!

Thank you for messaging us. I really appreciate that it can be very difficult to find the time to study when you have so much on your plate already. 

But before I get into how to tackle your problem, I want to say a huge well done for making those first steps into education in the first place. I applaud your desire to pick up a new skill! 

But pretty words won’t solve your issue. 

Making the Most of Time

Like all of us, time is a limited resource that we must be careful not to squander. Though in your case, with the responsibility of running a home, looking after children, and having a part-time job, it seems that there is barely any time left at the end of the week to squander at all! 

You must first make sure that you are getting the rest and recovery you need to manage your day-to-day functions and stay sane! This is your priority with whatever spare time you have.  

The next point I’d like to make is that the course you are on is designed to fit you. Your access is unlimited, which means you can spend as long as you want to complete it. Let’s do away with the worry that you must finish your studies right this minute because that is not the case at all, and I suspect from your tone that you are worried about a completion date. 

If you’re struggling with the assignments after you have read through the lesson notes, break them up into sections. Assignments are mostly several parts long and they are purposefully designed this way to be accessible for the busy learners we see on our courses. If you are struggling to find the time to go to a physical location (another feature of many assignments) to complete part of an assignment, there is often a section that allows you to do the assignment as online research instead. Focus on this and remember that the course is designed to fit around you and your life. Not you around the course. 

You’re Not Alone

I’ve had conversations with students who are in a similar boat to you and listened to their tactics on how to cope with lack of time. One young lady whose situation mirrors yours told me she used to tackle her course in the downtime between tasks, for example, while she waited for her dishwasher to finish its cycle, perfectly illustrating how she slotted her studies into her own unique situation.  

I know many women who suffer ‘mum guilt’ over putting their own interests ahead of, say putting another load of laundry in, and I’d like you to think of your study time as ‘you time’ that needs to be protected and looked after. If you have a partner or family that can take the kids off you for an hour or two a week so you can study in peace, then don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. If that’s not possible, then T.V.s, tablets or phones are a great stop-gap babysitter for short bursts while you knuckle down on your course.  

Finally, I’d like you to remember why you are undertaking these studies. What is your end goal here? Are you working in the livestock industry? Do you have a smallholding you are looking to get chickens into? Or is it a future career path you wish to embark on? Whatever your reasons, keep your goal in mind when you chip away at your course.  

All the best, 

Cara Gage




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