Whenever somebody asks me where I went to university, I always respond “it’s complicated”. I started my degree in Wales, transferred to Cornwall, spent a semester abroad in Australia, then finished my degree online. It’s a long story but in a nutshell, I decided to complete the final modules of my undergraduate qualification via distance learning because it was the right decision for my circumstances at the time.
Fast-forward to my 30’s, and I’m still obsessed with learning. I always have a non-fiction book on the go, I love documentaries, and I’m usually enrolled in some kind of course. Sometimes it’s a distance learning course, and sometimes it’s a short in-person course I can fit in between my working hours.
Feeding my mind with new information and exploring new subjects lights a fire inside me. I’m a huge advocate for online learning and short courses (basically, whatever works for you and your schedule), and here’s why:
Earn more money
Whether it’s to get that promotion at work, progress onto another qualification, or start a business – one of the main reasons people study courses is to elevate their career and make more money. Studying online means you can learn in your own time at your own pace. This means you can do it alongside a full-time job or another qualification that you might be attending in person. Distance learning and online courses require commitment and dedication but you can achieve your goals much quicker this way.
In the space of a single year, you can gain 12-months of industry experience and achieve the same credentials as your peers, giving you a competitive edge when it comes to applying for jobs. Extra qualifications from specialists in distance learning and online courses can also really help if you’re gunning for a promotion at work or you’re looking for a career change and you need to gain some experience.
Explore new subjects
When I studied abroad in Australia I chose subjects that interested me, that complimented my marketing degree, and offered me a competitive edge. I ended up studying consumer psychology, human behaviour, and 2 other neuroscience and sociology modules. This was one of the best decisions I could have made. Choosing these classes broadened my knowledge and forced me to learn quickly, which was really motivating in itself.
It was daunting choosing something so far out of my comfort zones but I felt secure in the fact that it was only 6 months and that if I didn’t like it, I could always change my mind (I dropped studying philosophy for that exact reason). Enrolling in a short course or learning via distance learning allows you to get a taste for another subject without needing to commit yourself to a full-time qualification. It also holds you accountable to ‘give it your all’ for a period of time, so you can give it your best shot before deciding it’s not right for you.
Running a business is stressful and sometimes it’s hard to step away from work. I try and take my mind off of things by exercising, gardening, and volunteering. I feel as though I’m teleported to another world when I’m in the ocean or sowing seeds in the garden, it’s my mindfulness medicine. After going through a bit of a rough time at the beginning of the year, I decided to pull myself out of a rut and enrolled myself onto a ceramics course. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – and I can actually do it regardless of the weather.
Studying doesn’t always have to be about adding something to your CV or progressing in your career. Taking care of your mental health is more important than your next promotion. When I’m taking care of myself, I’m happier and I feel more motivated (I even come up with more creative business ideas!). Studying these vocational courses forces me to focus on myself, instead of just working on my business. This course commits me to at least 3-hours away from my computer every Friday morning for 8 weeks, and I can’t wait.