Adetunji, our DBS and Nigerian Ambassador is studying for his MBA and in this, his final blog, he shares his tips on staying focused on academics while studying abroad…
Chances are that you will be swamped with academic work by the time you are mid-semester. You may even have a part-time job, which may be competing for your time, and you may also have extra-curricular activities such as clubs, societies, work in the student union or simply additional learning for new skills. These are all options available to you in Ireland and you should make good use of them.
But, it goes without saying that you must have time for the actual academic work, in some cases this requires strict and measured attendance records, in other cases not. To manage distractions, it’s essential to manage time. For a long time I would arrive at the college two hours before my first class and spend that time in the library writing papers. At the end of those two hours I would go to the Student Union to help out for 15 minutes and then head to class. It may seem that there isn’t enough time anymore and you’d be right there isn’t, so to get things done outside what takes up your daily hours you may have to wake up a bit earlier, sleep a bit later, work on breaks, work during class and seize every 15 minutes you get!
Next, whichever city you may find yourself, treat it like your friend. I lived in Dublin during my MBA, I knew the spots with free wifi, I knew the fastest routes to where I needed to be and I knew the spots where I could put in some quiet work without being too distracted. By keeping a mental model of “your spots and routes” you can save the time it would normally take to get from place to place or find where to do some work and still get to class or part-time job while you’re at it.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, paint yourself a detailed picture of the future. When you’re neck deep in academic work, the time may come when you wake up in the morning and can’t remember why you are putting yourself through such stress. In times like those I would open up LinkedIn and read the job descriptions of the jobs I want to have in the future and remind myself that what I was studying right now was directly contributing to my long term goals. Find out what people who did your degree are doing. Are there people who are doing what you want to be doing, what did they study? What skills do they have? Build a list of possibilities for yourself and when you next feel stuck, confused or overwhelmed you can look at that list and know that what you are facing in your study life, are simply a few of the blocks you need to reach your goals.
Manage your emotions well, if you ever feel lonely, get some company, you feel homesick, call your family, feel happy, celebrate. Give yourself what you need, and remember — you’ll be fine!