Ten tips to balance study, work, and family life

Mature age woman wearing graduation hat

As a mature age student, you have the benefit of experience, wisdom, and knowing yourself just that little bit better. Finding the right balance can be tricky, but we’re here to help you navigate this journey.

If you’re a mature age student considering study at university, you’re also probably wondering how it’s all going to come together. It can be difficult to focus on study when you have such a full life with so many competing interests. However it might surprise you to know that fitting study into your life may be easier than you think.

Tip #1 Get organised

The earlier you get on top of things, the better. You’ll feel so much calmer striding into class with your ID sorted, books and course materials on hand, and knowing your way around campus and the myMurdoch portal. For information about your first day, find out what's in store.

Tip #2 Schedule your time

Try to section off chunks of time where you focus on one particular task, whether that be study, family, social life, or work. Don’t try and do it all because multitasking and overloading your brain won’t pay off in the long run.

Tip #3 Study smarter, not harder

Hands up if you used to study by writing pages and pages of notes (and probably never looked at them again). Let’s teach you how to study smarter, not harder. First, improve your note-taking technique. And while exams may be a while off, these 15 revision hacks will help from your very first day right through to your last.

Tip #4 Take advantage of support services

We strongly recommend attending Orientation Week, and you could also visit a Student Success Advisor or attend workshops that can assist with writing skills and time management. And down the track, don’t be embarrassed to reach out if you’re struggling; support services are available to Murdoch students throughout their entire university journey.

Tip #5 Be realistic

It’s natural to be excited about embarking on a new path and you might envision getting study out of the way as quickly as possible. However you may feel more confident and relaxed if you focus on fewer units at one time, or perhaps study some units online. Once you’ve graduated, you won’t mind that it took an extra semester or two, but you will mind if you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped.

Tip #6 Understand who you are

Are you someone who really shines first thing in the morning, bouncing out of bed with zeal? Or do you come alive when the sun goes down? Do you like to work in a group setting, or do you need complete silence in order to do your best thinking? Work with your strengths and schedule study time for when you’re feeling fresh. 

Tip #7 Audit your free time

No need to give up Netflix or stop seeing friends, but have a think about where you can shave off those empty minutes or hours. Checking out your phone’s stats on how long is spent on social media is a good start. Or maybe combine non-competing tasks such as listening to a lecture while meal prepping, driving or catching public transport.

Tip #8 Good enough is better than perfect

Let go of perfectionism. You don’t need beautiful handwritten notes or wait until you’re bursting with creativity to write a 10/10 assignment. The students who generally do the best are those who are consistent in their habits, prepare early, and chip away little by little.

Tip #9 Look after yourself

The basic pillars of health and wellness really do come down to a few standard things: eating well, being active, reducing stress, and getting enough shut eye. It’s also a good idea to keep your phone out of your bedroom, expose yourself to sunshine first thing in the morning, and practice mindfulness regularly.

Tip #10 Get involved

University life isn’t just for those fresh out of high school. At Murdoch we have a large number of mature age students in exactly the same position as you. Get involved and make friends with peers who understand what you’re going through.

We have support services available to help you balance study with work and life. Explore all the options available to you

Posted on:

3 Oct 2023

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