Why am I studying?
Preparing yourself for learning often begins with a process of reflection. We suggest kicking this off with a few questions to understand what your goals are for learning.
Sometimes people make the choice to attend Otago Polytechnic because it seems like the right thing to do or because parents or friends have provided "encouragement". Maybe you are studying to attain a career goal. Ask yourself the question and keep asking "why?" until you come up with your own reasons for pursuing higher education.
The reason for this is clear. You are more likely to put in the required effort to attain your goal if it is important to you, and although OP can be fun and rewarding, academic success does require effort.
To help you think through your reasons for studying, here are some suggested resources:
- A trusted friend or family member
- Your student advisor
- Career counseling team
- A counsellor
Need to talk to someone?
Student Success Team
H Block, Dunedin campus
What grades do I want and why?
Having a target to aim for is helpful for motivation. However, again, it is important to keep your true goal front and centre. Again, ask yourself:
- Why do I want those grades?
- Will those grades help me to achieve my goals?
Once you have an answer to this question, consider whether or not you are willing to put in the extra effort required to achieve the grades you want:
- How much effort will this take?
- Am I willing to put in the required effort?
Remember, grades are not a measure of your worth – they are the easiest way for institutions to assess performance in order to make decisions about academic advancement.
How much effort do I need to put in?
You likely have a sense of how much effort you will need to put in based on your educational experiences up to now. However, keep in mind that Polytechnic may be an entirely new and overwhelming experience for you. Particularly, if you are adjusting to living away from home, in a new country, raising a family or caring for parents, experiencing personal challenges, or are experiencing new found freedom away from your family. All of these challenges compete for your energy.
You may need to balance your expectations for grades against other demands that you are experiencing – particularly as you adjust to OP life.
There are a number of resources and services to assist you:
- Counselling services
- Learning advisors
- International Support
Am I willing to make the effort?
This will be an easy question to answer if you are clear about your goals and if you are confident you understand how much effort will be required. Talking with your teachers and other students will help you gauge how much time you will need to spend studying in a particular programme to achieve your goals.
Just the fact that you have found this website will (we hope) help you to access the many resources and services OP offers to students in support of your learning. They may help smooth your way as you move ahead.
Am I ready to take charge of my learning?
Ultimately, what you learn and how you learn it is your responsibility. Here are a few simple tips to remember when the going gets tough:
- If you don’t understand something, meet or talk with the teacher and fellow students until you feel on firmer ground.
- If you’re falling behind, discuss this with your teacher. He or she may be able to suggest an approach that will help you meet the demands of the course.
- Check out options for tutoring and study groups.
- Contact the Student Success team.
- Invest some time in gathering your resources (software to help you with mind mapping, library tutorials, using the Library’s online database for research, developing a system for managing your notes, links to internet resources , etc.).
Getting clear about my goals
You might choose to skim the surface while reflecting on these questions. Or you may want to go a little deeper – asking yourself “why?” each time you come up with an answer to every question. The deeper you go, the clearer your goals will become. Write them down and reflect on them periodically throughout your time at OP. You may be surprised at the extent to which your goals change, evolve over time or remain unchanged. It’s all good – it just tells you something about your own personal approach to getting where you want to be.
This work includes material from the following sources:
University of Brithish Columbia. (n.d.). The reflection process. Retrieved from http://learningcommons.ubc.ca/tutoring-studying/selfassessment/the-reflection-process/ Licensed under a Creative Commons 4.0 license
Hero image: Water splash. PublicDomainPictures. Retrieved from: https://pixabay.com/en/splashing-splash-aqua-water-rain-275950/ Licensed under Creative Commons CC0 Universal