By Leanne Goodall

As we enter in to a new year, Open University student Leanne is setting out her goals

And so another year has passed and we’re now well and truly into 2016. When thinking of your studies how does the New Year make you feel? It’s a step closer towards that elusive graduation ceremony that you’ve been dreaming of and it’s a chance to start with a fresh enthusiasm towards studying again. Of course, for some, it might be that you’re just starting your studies for the very first time. If that’s the case then 2016 is already set to be an incredible journey for you!

Making Study Goals

Do you make study goals at all? I’ve always had generalised, flexible study goals and only ever aimed at making it to the end having done the best that I can. There are always extra bonuses from all of the exciting learning along the way but my goal is complete my degree – whatever it takes. The New Year has given me a new sense of direction with regards to my study. In the past I’ve always stuck to the planner on Student Home which has helped keep me on track but the course that I’m currently studying (A207) and changes to my circumstances have left me with even less available time and it’s been tricky to stick to. So I’ve decided to re-work my study plan to make it work better for me. It’s not advice that I would usually give as the study planners on Student Home are well thought out.

Despite this: studying for a degree with The Open University demands flexibility and so that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve begun to make a timetable for each week which now sits nicely on my desk. I note down the things that I MUST get done and the dates that they need to be done by. Then I work out roughly how long I need to work on those things for and find available slots in my schedule to work on them. My timetable is now set out with sections for general study, TMA work, family time, my actual work and more. It begins at 8am each day and is scheduled right through until 10pm (although there are ‘regular’ evenings when I finish by 8.30pm). I’m trying to be really strict in sticking to it and so far it is making everything seem a little more manageable.

Changing Study Goals

Of course you can always make study goals, that goes without saying. The point I’m making here is that sometimes it’s OK to change your goals, change the way you work or think outside the box a little. I’ve always tried to stick to the ‘guidelines’ given by the OU and it’s always worked for me. That is until the second half of 2015 when I found that time was becoming such a precious thing to find. For me, it was time to try something different. So my main study goal for 2016 is simply to trust myself when it comes to making choices that go off from the original study plan on Student Home. I’ve been studying with the OU for quite some time now and am on my final level two module so I have gained experience in how to study from home. I’ve learned that planning your study is essential but I’ve also learned the things that I can usually go a bit faster paced with and the areas that I need to spend more time on.

2016 is the perfect time to set new goals and try new things with my study and I’m looking forward to seeing how it pans out for me

Are you making study goals of your own? I’d be interested to hear how you use the study planning advice on Student Home and what works for you too!

Leanne is halfway through a BA (Hons) in History with the OU and enjoys writing as a freelancer as well as on her personal blog, Growing my Knowing, where she catalogues her experiences as a student. You can catch up on all of Leanne’s excellent contributions for STOU here.

As Leanne says, let us know your goals for 2016 – either for studying with the Open University or your personal ambitions. Please LIKE/TWEET/SHARE or leave a comment below. This social currency helps us to grow and improve the value we are able to provide for OU students.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.

The Open University study guide is now available! Click on this image to find out more.