Study Skills: My Learning Journey

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Study Skills: My Learning Journey 

This assignment will discuss my learning journey as a mature student, as I return to higher education with an aim of registering as a nurse. I started my journey with the University Certificate course as my stepping-stone and my first module being Study Skills, which I am going to be reflecting on in this discussion. I am going to focus mainly on three topics, procrastination, time management and motivation, I chose those three topics because they are the ones I seem to have struggled with the most. I also aim to reflect on the challenges which I encountered with those topics and how I have managed to overcome them in my learning journey with the help of Study skills, which has helped me to understand the type of learner that I am and what works best for me. On this reflection discussion I have chosen to use Gibbs reflective module, because of the way it is laid out. I feel it gives the reader a clear understanding of my journey and what I could do better next time.


At the beginning of my course I found myself struggling quite a lot with procrastination. According to Steel, (2007) “To procrastinate is to voluntarily delay an intended course of action despite expecting to be worse of the delay”. It was very difficult for me to bring myself to do my work, instead I would find myself on social media or making unnecessary phone calls to friends, just to delay starting my assignments. According to Tefula, (2014:8) he states that they are four Ps of procrastination: (1) Probability of pay off (2) Pursuit of pleasure (3) Prevention of pain (4) Postponement of punishment (or Payoff). Out of the four mentioned they are two which were quite significate in my journey. Probability of pay off which means, we prefer tasks in which we are likely to achieve more, compared to those we are less likely to excel Tefula, (2014:1). In my situation I lacked confidence, had low self-esteem and so much fear of failure, I never thought I would accomplish any tasks set before me. Self-esteem has been reviewed as a frame of mind towards self (Rosenberg, 1965), this has both emotional and functional elements as in all attitudes. Nevertheless, it is often believed that self-esteem is essentially based on our emotions (Alan, 2012:36). In addition, the fact that I am Dyslexia did not help in doubting myself, as l would say to myself am not good enough like the other students. I felt they picked up stuff quicker and understood straightway what was being asked off us, better than myself. Alan, 2012:46) states that, students with low self-esteem lack a straightforward, coherent and cohesive perception of who they are and have less specific opinions of what they are like relative to others. Fear of failure affects procrastination tendencies especially when combined with low performance which can prevent us from meeting our deadlines on assigned tasks Tefula, (2014:12). The second P is Postponement of punishment (or Payoff) which means, it is unchallenging to postpone work because the outcome gives satisfaction, as stated by (Tefula,2014:12). With postponement of punishment, it affected me in a way, because I would find excuses to put off the work I had before me. I would tell myself I can do it the next day, and instead will choose to do other things like go on my social media or catch up on my favourite television shows because I found that to be more fun and interesting than doing my assignments or any of my course tasks so because of all these delays and setbacks I found myself having to work under so much pressure because of time.

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This then influenced my time management, having a good sense of time management involves making sure that the task at hand is well understood with a goal in mind, whilst also considering the priorities and making use of the time that is available (Craig, 2009). As a single parent trying to run a home single-handedly was a challenge on its own, without the added pressure of university work on top of everything else, and my ability to manage time effectively was very poor at the beginning of my course. McMillian and Weyers (2012) suggest that organising of everyday activities using a diary or calendar helps a person to think diligently about their time.

As I lacked organization, prioritizing and planning in my day to day life. Despite having full days, where does the time go? Moore et al., (2010). I found myself not copying and sometimes becoming very stressed as I ended up having so much work to do and not enough time, because of poor time management. Poor time management can cause you to end up stressed, which may also affect your mental health and emotional wellbeing (Bloomsbury, 2010). I felt as if my life had changed overnight, and now I had loads of things to do but still could not manage (Forsyth, 2016) suggest that organisation and time management go hand- in- hand. My motivation was deflected, to the extent that I forgot my main and most important goal of what I wanted to achieve, becoming a registered nurse, something I have been passionate about for a very long time (Mclean, 2012:9) when we do stuff for our own purpose, pleasure and satisfaction it gives us sense of gratification throughout a task, this is when we are intrinsically motivated, however, progress in any form of study specifically needs learners to adhere to both intrinsic and extrinsic forms of motivation, working on an assignment is rewarding for intrinsic purposes but also improves academic success. It was really challenging for me without self-motivation. Motivation is what drives our actions and movements to doing something (Beck 2004). It is hard to commit to something without the drive to succeed (Moore et. al. 2010). I soon realised I had to practice self-determination, which is any attempt to influence change, behaviour, emotions and opinions (Mclean, 2012:9). Self-determination and self-motivation became my driving force.


On reflection, I feel if I had been more organised from the start, I would not have gone through the stress. Having to work under pressure with not enough time was quite frustrating for me. I felt I had let myself down and should have done better. Alternatively, I feel it made me focus and pushed me to create time and work towards completing my assignment, rather than relax.


On understanding and learning more through Study Skills, I realised my strength was motivation, because once I knew how to self-motivate, I realised I worked better and pushed myself towards my goal. “The best moments occur when a person’s mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worth-while’ (Alderman,2004:132). I motivated myself by writing down small realistic goals to be completed in a week and learned to work towards them and achieve my goal within the time scale, for example, my goal would be to write at least 500 words per week towards an assignment. My weaknesses were, procrastination and time management, I think I could have done better if I had not wasted so much precious time putting off doing my work.


Cottrell, S. (2019) suggest that lack of motivation can lead to increased levels of stress and she goes on to say it can also have an effect on student’s performance regardless of how much one enjoys the topic or how much one wants to achieve a good score. They are situations where student’s find themselves, weak and begins to question if it is even worth doing. This is also supported by Zeller, D (2018) who states that procrastination will result in unmanageable workloads as deadlines approach. In addition, he goes on to say the burden does not go away by putting off doing the task at hand, but instead the inability of doing it can induce either emotional distress or physical stress caused by sleep deprivation. Furthermore, Nayak, S.G (2018) suggests that student’s progress reflects on how well they manage their time. She expands by saying, implementing change is very crucial where time management is concerned, when good time management is applied correctly it produces increased productivity, less tension, better performance and more incentives for academic development. By comparison if not handled efficiently it may lead to outcomes such as missed deadlines and not up to standard work. She stresses that individuals who are, able to manage their time effectively tend to achieve great results with less strain and gain more personal growth. This is supported by a study carried out by (Ghiasvand et al., 2017) students who have acquired the skill of managing their time well tend to achieve better academically and they also go on to use this skill in their professional lives, the effort of this achievement is referred to as academic motivation, but there are still some nursing students who find themselves stressed and anxious because of inadequate academic motivation which can result in poor performances or quitting all together. They also carried out a study were 441 student nurses took part. This study showed that half of the students were at a moderate level of time management skill. According to this outcome, it is important to develop time management skills, this will help minimize levels of stress within students and at the same time increase academic motivation.

According to an analysis carried out by Hussain et al., (2010) shows that procrastination is common in most university students, their research suggests that procrastination influences student attainment and self-belief, which tends to lead to lack of dedication, lack of motivation, poor time management and emotional stress. In addition to this O’Callaghan et al., (2008) concluded that extreme procrastinators are more likely to suffer from academic strain and worry. Hussain et al., (2010) further suggests that procrastination has an adverse effect on student’s performance, which will result in them getting low grades and it can also induce fear of failure. They also state a few steps to help manage or mitigate procrastination: accessing adequate guidance and counselling provided by your university, taking all constructive feedback from tutors positively and using it to perform better in future, creating good ties, communicating issues and finding effective solutions.


From this experience, I have gained a broader understanding of effective time management, with help from Cottrell, S., (2019: 127) she listed 10 steps to good time management. Following these steps has had an overall impact of my learning journey, once you know how to manage your time well everything else falls in place. Another area where I have developed is Self-efficacy skills (Cottrell, S., 2019:21) suggests that effective self-control is important in further education because of the high demands in independent development and personal freedom. She listed 10 qualities which help reduce the challenges I faced earlier into my study, once I started to apply these qualities into my learning journey, I realised how effective they were and wish I had followed this from the start, it would have reduced the levels of stress and worry I subjected myself to.

Action Plan

For my future personal development, I am going to use the S.M.A.R.T GOAL: Goals help to you focus on key tasks and clarify a way forward. Having a study timetable and goals provide structure and guide you in a focused way. They focus on your personal learning and development by tracking your success. This in turn increases confidence and morale (Skills you need, 2016)

SPECIFIC: First: I intend on working on managing my mindset, I feel this will help me understand how I think, what triggers my stress, how best to deal with it and how to avoid such challenges in future. Second: I will work on developing my resilience as a student, because this is one area I really struggled with, when it came to juggling family and my studies. Cottrell, (2019:162) suggests 4 points on how resilience contributes to success:

  • It gives you the ability to handle situations when they become difficult.
  • It offers an understanding of how to get back up, and manage problems as they arise
  • It boosts faith in yourself, even when things or situations do not appear right.
  • It builds your courage to take chances, engage, and boosts your willingness to experiences new things.

Third: I want to work on improving effective time managing skills, I feel that once I gain the ability to successfully manage my time, this will help reduce workloads and working under pressure.

Fourth: I want to work on keeping myself motivated. Cottrell, (2019:113) highlights some of the signs of weak motivation, I experienced in the journey, “finding excuses not to study, not being able to settle down to study, losing interest, becoming easily distracted and giving up quickly”.

I feel that once I apply all the above, mentioned strategies it will be easier to manage procrastination.

MEASURABLE: I am going to create a quiet study area at home, organise my books and everything I need when studying. When I get an assignment, I will look at the time scale I have to complete it and add it into my planner. I will then work out from everything else I have in my planner, what I can prioritize and divide my time accordingly, I intent to study at least 2 hours, three days a week and leave weekends for family.

ACHIEVEABLE: My 2 hours of study, three days a week are very possible because, I am usually free when kids are in school and every evening when they go to bed. This will give me time to either work on any assignment or reading this will also keep me motivated.

REALISTIC: For my intended days of study, I will do meals preparation earlier than I normally would and attend to house chores as soon as kids are off to school, during holidays I will work in the evenings when they are in bed.

TIME-BOUND: My short-term goal is to achieve 6-8 hours of study time a week. My long-term goal is to increase my study time to at least between 10-13 hours a week, this I hope to achieve by the end of the year.


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