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Changing Direction

By Dawn Morse MSc
As published in Om Yoga and Lifestyle Magazine

Enrolling onto an adult training course can be both an exciting and challenging time in your life.
Many people enroll onto a training course in order to start a new chapter in their life and are keen to meet like-minded people, who share a common passion. As a result, many students meet close friends on their training course who become a valuable support network once they have graduated from the programme.
One aspect of the training programme that can, however, prove challenging is the academic aspect such as; essay writing and practical and theory assessments. This is often due to being out of education for a number of years.
When we are in full-time education studying and assessments are second nature. But when we have been out of education for some time, the thought of essay writing or being assessed on a new skill can fill many people with apprehension and self- doubt. This can become even more daunting when juggling a training course with full-time employment or family life, or both.

The following tips can help you negotiate your way through adult training and the academic aspects of your course:

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Share your ambitions with family and friends:

Sharing your goals with family and friends will enable them to provide you with support and encouragement. Let them know when your assessment deadlines are so that they can help you by giving you some quiet time, helping to look after children, taking the dog for a walk or helping you revise or to take part in practice sessions. Once you have completed your course they can then of course help you celebrate your achievements.

Be prepared for the course:

Most adult learning courses will set pre-reading or pre-course activities. Take the time to find out what your pre-course requirements are, and schedule in the time to complete these tasks.
Take the time to order any course text-books and a note pad and folder before the course starts, along with any specific equipment that you may need during the course.
Completing these activities prior to the start of the course will enable you to start the programme feeling organised and with a positive mindset.

Get a planner and set yourself time to study:

When we have many layers to our life such as full time work, family, friends and a training course to complete it is often easy to feel overwhelmed and for time to fly away from us. In these instances, it is essential to schedule time for study.
A wall planner is your friend as it not only helps you plan your time, but will let others know when you plan to study. In the age of technology, it’s also useful to set a reminder on your phone or computer, so that you don’t become distracted by other things.

Think outside of the box and maximise on your study time:

Make the most of your time, so that you can maximise on your goals. For example, is it possible to complete course reading or research whilst on your daily commute or at the gym whilst pounding away on the treadmill or cross-trainer etc. Or is it possible to wake up 30 minutes earlier to complete a few rounds of Sun Salutations or write your yoga journal, before you start the rest of your day?

Set up a study group to share ideas and to help keep each other motivated:

Staying connected to your training group in between study weekends, can help you to feel connected with the course and maintain motivation for study. Facebook, Watsapp and other social media groups are an excellent way to stay connected with each other and to ask questions or share resources and experiences.

Set yourself breaks and rewards for study:

Writing an essay or revising for a practical or theory exam is no easy feat, and we can often find ourselves distracted by the simplest of things, such as feeling a sudden urge to tidy our wardrobe or sort out the kitchen cupboards! But, procrastination doesn’t help us to achieve goals, therefore plan in time for a break and reward yourself for maintaining your focus.
Schedule yourself time for writing, but plan quick breaks into that time and rewards. These could be as simple as after writing 300 words, you then allow yourself a ten minute break to make a cup of tea and catch up on Facebook, Instagram or your emails.

Remind yourself why you are doing the course and your end goal:

Keep your end goal in mind, and if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, remind yourself why you enrolled onto the course and what you want to achieve with it. Whether it’s to become a full time yoga teacher, a yoga therapist or to expand your knowledge of yoga for your own personal development and practise. Writing positive affirmations and your goals on post-it notes and placing them in prominent places around your home or office can often help to maintain focus and motivation.
Remember is to enjoy the experience and the process of self development and discovery.