A Day in the Life of a Distance Learner: Louisa's Story
I recently retired from an 11 year dancing career with Scottish ballet and had a baby. As I had always wanted to go into dance teaching I enrolled on the BA (Hons) Dance Education programme in October 2010. I live in Scotland and have found that learning by distance is a great way to study as it can fit around my family life.
I get up around 7.00am when the baby wakes up. After breakfast we have a bit of playtime and this is when I get organised for what I need to do for my studies during the day. I may revise what I did the previous day or read emails and forum posts, or look at the next study task. I work from a laptop so I can take my work around the house with me.
At about 10.00am the baby goes for a nap, and as I know he'll sleep for at least 2 hours, I've prepared what I want to do and get a lot of work done during this precious time. This is a good time to do some important reading or writing of assignments because I can fully concentrate without any distractions.
Once the baby has woken up and we've had lunch I'll usually take him out for some fresh air. I'll either go and meet friends or take him swimming. When I'm walking around with the buggy, I can think about my work and if I'm stuck on an assignment I can often clarify things in my mind. At around 3.30pm the baby has another short nap and this is yet more precious time for studying. I often go over what I've already done and prepare what I want to do later.
When the baby wakes up we have some more play time and he has his dinner. My husband gets home around 5.30pm and between us we do all the usual evening tasks of preparing dinner for us, bathing and putting the baby to bed. This is a lovely time when all three of us are together.
The baby is in bed by 7.00pm. After dinner, I'm studying again and this is when I can really get into what I'm doing as there are no time constraints and I'm not listening out for the baby to wake up (if he does my husband deals with him). I usually go and work in the office upstairs away from the phone and television and it's amazing how absorbed I get and how quickly the time passes. Depending on what I'm doing (or how tired I get!) I usually finish between 10.30pm and 11pm and then go to bed, ready to start again tomorrow.
I think the key to distance learning is planning ahead and sticking to it, as well as avoiding unnecessary distractions, like internet shopping or Facebook, etc! It is pretty tiring and hard to keep up with all the household chores but that's just the way it has to be at the moment. I do miss relaxing on the sofa and watching television in the evening but I just think about the investment I'm making in our future and how it'll all be worth it in the end. I'm really enjoying my studies so far and learning a great deal and I'm finding co-ordinating studying and a baby a rewarding challenge.
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