Search Ashworth College
Staying motivated to study during the holidays can be hard for online students. The change in routine, coupled with the distractions and stresses of the season, can derail even the most disciplined students. It’s even harder for those with mental health issues or neurodivergent conditions like ADHD.
We gathered these tips from our online students to put together this top-ten list of what works when you have to tune out the jingle bells and focus on your online school or certification program.
The holiday season can throw everyone's routines for a loop. To keep on top of things, try to keep up some of your normal study habits. If you're used to studying at a certain time, do your best to stick to it. For those who find it hard to manage their time, tools like written schedules or phone apps can be super helpful during the busy holiday season. Class of 2021 graduate Tiffany Whitter says that setting aside time is important to get through your courses. (Watch Tiffany’s whole interview for yourself!)
Sticking to a consistent daily plan, including designated study times, can help reduce holiday stress and keep you focused, especially if you're someone who thrives on routine.
Break your study material into smaller, manageable chunks. Setting realistic and achievable goals is crucial for maintaining motivation and avoiding burnout. Veterinary assistant Penni Katzmann took a hit when her hours were cut at work, so she took the time to work towards her veterinary assistant career diploma, making it work with her schedule. When you’re taking online classes, you don’t have to cram an entire semester into your winter break. Pace yourself.
Remember, struggling to focus on your online schooling does not make you a bad student. It's often a signal from your body that it needs something different. Practicing self-compassion can prevent burnout and help you achieve your long-term goals, even if progress is slower than expected. Take breaks and do things you love with the people or pets you love.
Getting your education in a timely manner is important, but not at the expense of your mental health and well-being. If you have to take a break from classes, that’s okay. Carren Itza-Montego, Ashworth’s 2022 Graduate of the Year, took a ten-year hiatus from school to prioritize her family. She never lost sight of her goals, though, and knew she’d someday go back. She enrolled in Ashworth College in 2021. While you may not need such a long break, taking a day, a week, or a month “off” from your studies can be essential to make sure you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed.
“I’ve seen my son get a lot of motivation from seeing me go back to school. So that, in itself, pushed me to keep going,” she said. Hear more about her experience.
Online classes during the holiday and New Year season can be tough. This time of year is full of distractions, and it can be hard to stay motivated. Here are some tips and tools that can help you keep up with your coursework and enjoy the season without burning out:
Learn more about finding your learning style and how to make it work for you.
Taking regular breaks while studying is super important. This could look like 30 minutes of studying followed by 5 minutes (set a timer!) of scrolling on your phone or playing with your cat. Even if you’re in the zone, don’t forget to stand up and stretch or walk around. Sitting for extended periods of time can be bad for your health, so be sure to change positions and move around.
For rewards, it’s okay to celebrate small wins in addition to the big ones. You may have taken all week to finish a chapter, but you finally did it! Treat yourself! Big or small, it’s a good idea to give yourself little rewards along your journey to completing your degree program.
Connecting with other students at your online school can be a significant factor in staying motivated, especially during challenging times like the holiday season. Sometimes, taking online classes can be too isolating–even if you’re an introvert.
Here's how making connections with other students can help:
You can connect with other Ashworth students and alumni on our official social media pages, student-led Facebook groups (if you search “Ashworth College” on Facebook, you should find them), or on the Student Community!
Practicing mindfulness and reducing stress while taking online classes, especially during the winter season, is super important for maintaining mental health and academic success.
Here are some tips to help online learners find a moment of zen:
Sometimes life happens, and turning in an assignment on time isn’t possible. That’s okay! If you know that you’re going to turn something in late, the best thing you can do is let the instructor know as soon as possible. Be honest, explain your situation at a level of detail you are comfortable sharing, and come prepared with a new deadline. Your instructor may or may not be understanding of your plight, so be ready to accept their decision, even if it isn’t in your favor.
When requesting accommodations, here are some reasonable asks:
Be proactive when it comes to asking for the things you need in order to be successful in your online program. With Ashworth College, and many other online programs, there are no set due dates or deadlines, so you can take your time and submit assignments or exams at the pace that works best for you!
Read more: 5 Test Taking Tips To Boost Your Grades
Use online resources like educational podcasts, webinars, and tutorials that are relevant to your coursework. Mixing up your learning methods can keep things interesting and prevent boredom. Plus, exploring different online educational tools can give you new perspectives and help you better understand the material.
Accounts Ashworth students have recommended:
If you have a routine that isn’t working for you anymore, change it up! Sometimes, our brains just need a little change to jumpstart our motivation. If you normally study in a sunny room and the weather’s been gloomy, try a SAD lamp or putting on upbeat music. Maybe doing your English studying and reading in bed is the best way for you to absorb that material, but doing math in bed makes you tired. Move around, adjust your lighting, try a different app, or take a break. You’ve got this!
The important thing to remember is to not be hard on yourself. As I’m writing this, my living room is so cozy and festive, but I’m at my desk in another room. Why? Because I focus better at my desk, and I have deadlines!
Tackling an online program, whether it’s a diploma, career certificate, or college degree, is time-consuming and requires you to use a lot of new skills. Mixing the holidays and the start of a new year with online learning can be a challenge, but with some of the tips and tools listed above, hopefully you’ll get through January without too much stress.
At Ashworth, you'll find a community ready to support and guide you through every step of your learning journey. Call our Admissions Specialists at 1-888-427-6500 to learn more about our online college degree programs.