Skip main navigation

Time management

Time Management
With a young son attending the university nursery, it gave me plenty of time to attend lectures and seminars and to manage the workload. My advice would always be to use your time wisely, be disciplined. I treated my studies like a full-time job, so that I didn’t have to do lots of work at home on an evening and a weekend. I went to the library during the day to get books and print journal articles, I did research for my essays, and still fitted in time to meet peers for coffees and catch ups. I even drew up a timetable that I needed to stick to.
At university you are expected to be an independent learner and you won’t have anyone breathing down your neck about whether you are getting on with preparing essays. The worst thing to do is to leave assessments until the last minute. I used to pick my essay titles in the first few weeks of the term, and then spent hours reading books and journals to gather evidence for my arguments. This is exactly what I had been told to do in my college course and that gave me lots of confidence. Yes, I was writing longer essays, but if you are doing the reading and research and planning your essays, they become an enjoyable experience. Challenging yes, but not daunting.
The worst thing is trying to write an essay when you haven’t done the reading and you do not have enough evidence to back up what you are saying. If you plan your time well, this reflects in the work you submit and in the marks you get. If you are thinking of returning to education, I would just go for it. Yes, it is hard work and you need to develop good time management and be really disciplined with yourself; but returning to education as a mature student is one my greatest achievements. You cannot imagine how much you will learn, not just from the course itself, but from other people around you.
I did it for me and my young son, and for no one else. I listened to my fears, but I didn’t let them define me. I acknowledged them and moved on step by step a day at a time. I graduated and was asked to teach at the local college. Whilst working I completed a professional teaching qualification and was then involved in writing Foundation Degrees. Fast forward 12 years and I am now an External Examiner, and work as a Lead Moderator for an awarding body for Access to HE courses, and I am undertaking a PhD. I think once you get the bug of studying you can just keep going.

In the video here, Keran talks about the time pressures of study… but the benefits of being well-organised!

Are there learning points from her video that you could take away to maximise the use of your time in a busy schedule?

This article is from the free online

Returning to Education as a Mature Student

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education