By Leanne Goodall

So you’re doing a degree and you know by now that it is far from plain sailing. There are tough days, impossible days but also exciting days and those that give you a sense of achievement. So how do students get through a degree? For some students it can feel like an impossible task to embark on or finish once times have hit hard. This post is designed (by an OU student who is 4 years in) to give you some tips to help you through.

My Top Ten Tips for Surviving your Open University Degree

1 – It’s a marathon not a sprint. Take things one step at a time because slow and steady certainly wins the race in this circumstance. Some people will race ahead but everybody works at different speeds and if you feel like you’re not going as quickly as someone else this does not mean that you are behind. Try to stick within your assignment dates if you can but don’t judge yourself on the speed of others. It’s a long journey.
2 – Keep laughing! Seriously this is an important ingredient to success. It’s essential to be able to step out of the stressful situation and see the bigger picture. To be able to have a little giggle about your student difficulties can be just the medicine you need during tough times so keep smiling and laugh when you can.
3 – Connect with other students. By doing that you’ll pick up lots of hints and tips and realise that you’re not alone. Most students find it really helpful to connect with others.
4 – Set an end goal. Did you know exactly what you wanted to come out of your degree when you first started it? If so brilliant – that’s what you’re aiming for but if not then set yourself a goal. It doesn’t have to be huge and it doesn’t have to be a career choice. You might just like to set the goal of standing on stage at your degree ceremony – that spurs a lot of people on.
5 – Keep your end goal in sight. When things are tough remember that goal. Remember why you are doing this and remind yourself that you will get there.
6 – Remind yourself how far you’ve come. Sometimes the huge workload ahead of you can feel like an impossible mountain and from time to time it is worth looking back for a moment. Consider how far you have come, what you have learned and what you have achieved so far. Now you know that you are capable of climbing that mountain.
7 – Regular study sessions. Try not to leave huge gaps in your study sessions. By studying regularly the information keeps fresh in your mind and means that you are able to move forward at a steady pace instead of having to go over everything you’ve already done time and time again.
8 – Get help if you need to. It’s your degree and if you need help to achieve something in order to get it then go and get the help. Don’t be afraid to ask or too proud, just ask then you can learn and move forward.
9 – Be proud!
10 – Never give up – just move forwards even if it’s one tiny step at a time. You’ll do it if you never give up.

So that’s my top 10 tips for helping you to survive your degree. If you’ve got any more then do let us know as we’d love to share them with other students!

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.

Do you have any top tips to pass on to fellow students? Let us know. 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.