Let's celebrate - you're going to learn some EPIC skills this summer! 👏
Learning isn't always an easy breezy commitment, but here's the good news; you're not alone! Many Summer of Cloud alumni have walked this path before, and there are plenty of ways to stay on track while having fun over your summer break.
We've asked our Summer of Cloud alumni on how they did it, and read over 10 guides on how to ace a course. 🤯
Here's what we learnt.
Psst... If you want to jump straight to our top four tips, scroll to the bottom. It's okay. We won't judge you. That much. 😉
🏆 Top Tip: Make Your Course Work for You 🏆
First things first; did you know NextWork courses will be flexible to your schedule? There are no set lecture times and strict deadlines, meaning you get to decide when and where you learn.
Only free at night? No worries! Want to do just 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sunday? You're sorted.
So, when life happens and you need to change your study plan, know that you can shuffle the course around to make it realistic and achievable for you. It's a much more sustainable way to study than pushing yourself the entire summer and burning out! 🥵
Set a mental date for your exams. 🗓️
Take out your Feb 2024 calendar, and cross out the days you have big work or personal commitments (like family gatherings, birthdays, and any Summer School exams).
Between the start of Feb and the day you get back to uni for Semester One, what is the best possible day for you to sit a one to two hour exam? 🧐 Highlight that day now - you've just found your ideal exam day!
Set expectations early that you should keep that day (and probably the 2-3 days before that) as free as possible.
Plan your study schedule
This is especially important if you're juggling other commitments (like a part-time job) over the summer! Log in to your NextWork account to get planning - we have a 'Plan Your Schedule' guide waiting for you.
Effective Study Environment and Self-Care
👏 Get 👏 Enough 👏 Sleep 👏 Don't make us say it twice! Rest is so key to for the health of your body and your brain.
Physically designate areas for study and personal time. For example, you can make your room all about personal time and relaxation (no study in this space!), but dedicate a quiet part of your home or a library for learning. This signals to your brain that when you're in this zone, it's time to focus on your course. 📚 It also helps to set and maintain your boundaries around how you want to balance study and relaxation this Summer!
Set up your study space to help you focus. Call your designated study space your "🚫 no distractions zone 🚫". That's where your phone's on silent, there's no TV running in the background, and you might even block distracting website for a few hours (StayFocusd is a pretty good tool for this).
Take breaks. A classic break routine is getting up and stretching your legs every 20 minutes, or the Pomodoro Technique. We rate Time Out as a break reminder for Macs, while BreakTimer works on Windows and Linux computers too.
Use meditation or mindfulness to improve focus and reduce mental clutter. 😌 We personally love Calm, but Headspace is quite popular too.
Motivation and Celebration
Always keep your goals in sight—literally! 🖼 Put 'em up on your wall and visualise your goals. If you're feeling extra, create a vision board for your dream lifestyle. When things get a bit tough, remind yourself of your goals and take a 🍃 big 🍃 breath.
Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint. Just like working out, playing an instrument, or brushing your teeth, consistency is the name of the game. The first 10 minutes of starting always feels the hardest, but once you get into it you'll keep going without much effort. Showing up is the first step to being on top.
Set up reminders on your calendar about milestones you want to hit. Want to finish the course in 3 months? Set yourself weekly reminders in your calendar ("Reminder: let's crush another 9% of the course this week 🏋️♀️").
Celebrate both small and big achievements to stay motivated. Get creative with your rewards! Consider inviting your friends to a movie, treating yourself to something nice at the bakery, or visiting the salon. 💆 Also, make sure to stick to your word if you're promising yourself a reward. Skipping out on the reward makes your mind subconsciously trust yourself a bit less the next time you study - that's how some students end up procrastinating.
⏳ In Summary ⌛️
Here are the top four tips to take away!
Tailor your learning journey: 📚✨ Shape your NextWork course schedule to match your lifestyle and avoid burning out.
Plan ahead: Pencil in your ideal exam day and set up your study schedule ahead of the course.
Create your study zone: Designate a no distractions area that will become your study spot. Remember to take breaks, stretch and eat healthily.
Keep that fire burning: Visualise your dreams, remind yourself every week/month of your study goals, and don't forget to treat yourself when you hit milestones. 🔥🏆
Made it to the end? You're absolutely killing it! Keep that energy up and charge forward - your Summer of Cloud journey is going to be incredible.