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How to ask for work experience

Posted on 26/10/2016 by
Asking for work experience is a great way to get a foot in the door of the airline, travel & tourism industry.

Asking for work experience is a great way to get a foot in the door of the airline, travel & tourism industry.

Do you dream of a career in airline, travel or tourism? In addition to gaining a qualification, the best thing you can do is get some work experience in the industry.

Here are some tips for good ‘work experience etiquette’: how to ask for it, how to handle rejections, and what to do if you’re successful.

1. Make a list of businesses to approach

Write down all the airline, travel and tourism businesses in your area. A good way to do this is to visit your local i-SITE and browse the marketing brochures. Don’t forget to factor in nearby transport hubs, such as airports or ferry terminals.

Once you have a list of employers, highlight three businesses you’d really like to work for, and make a plan to approach these ones first. You can always come back to your list later if you have no luck with your preferred options.

2. Write a CV

Even if you have limited experience, it’s a good idea to put what you can on a professional, well-formatted CV. Include any high school qualifications or relevant life experience (babysitting, volunteer work) and write a brief personal statement outlining why you are pursuing a career in airline, travel and tourism. Keep your CV to one page or less.

Please don’t hesitate to approach your Study From Home tutor if you’d like some help with your CV.

3. Drop your CV off in person

Choose a smart, professional outfit, make sure your hair is tidy and your shoes are polished, and drop your CV to your chosen employers. Let the person on reception know that you are currently studying with ITC and looking for work experience opportunities while you complete your qualification.

4. Try to relax

If the thought of approaching employers makes your stomach do flip-flops, try to relax. Remember: there’s no harm in asking, and it’s okay for people to say no. This doesn’t mean you did anything wrong – it just means it’s not the right time. Think of this as a fun experiment and don’t take anything personally. Smile, relax, and try to enjoy the challenge.

5. Decide what you’re willing to offer

If an employer expresses interest, first of all – congrats! You’re on your way to securing a work experience placement. The next step is to negotiate a fair and reasonable arrangement.

Think of work experience as an exchange; you’re willing to give your time (for free) in return for knowledge. Consider how much time you have available and make a suggestion that you believe is reasonable (and won’t distract you from your studies). This might be one afternoon, a weekend-day, or an entire week.

The employer is under no obligation to accept your suggestion, but it will provide a useful starting point for discussions. If anything, the employer will likely be impressed that you have taken the time to think carefully about your availability – it shows good time management.

6. Follow-up

After you’ve completed your work experience, write a kind follow-up email expressing your gratitude and asking politely for a short written reference. Again, not all employers will be able or willing to provide this, but it’s always a good idea to ask. You might also want to drop the hint that you’re graduating soon in case they have any permanent roles available.

The airline, travel and tourism industry is all about cultivating relationships. Being polite, friendly, and approachable will take you far – so try not to be scared about work experience and instead see it as a chance to meet new people and grow your network. Good luck!

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Study from home tip: Stay curious

Posted on 12/10/2016 by
One of the best things you can do to succeed at distance learning is to stay curious and open to new knowledge.

The travel industry is vibrant and ever-changing. Stay curious and open to new knowledge, and you will go far.

Welcome to Part 6 of our six-part series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we share one practical tip to help you excel at your studies. This is the last tip in the series – be sure to check out the five other tips (see the end of this article for links).

We’ve written about the importance of getting organised, building a support network, improving your reading and writing skills, and becoming a great communicator, but this week’s tip is a little different. It can be applied not just to studying from home, but to your life in general.

If you remember anything from this six-part series, remember these two words: stay curious.

By this we mean: remain open-minded about all the things you don’t know. Ask questions. Soak up knowledge like a sponge. Listen to your tutors and peers and be interested in what they have to say. Cultivating curiosity will help you learn and ensure you remain interested in your coursework.

But you don’t just have to be curious about your studies. It’s also a good idea to be curious about the travel industry in general. Be on the alert for opportunities to widen and enhance your learning experience. For example, read the travel section in newspapers, borrow travel magazines from the library, or keep an eye out for travel-related TV programmes and documentaries.

Believe it or not, SKY TV is actually a superb source of travel information – as long as it doesn’t interrupt your study schedule! The Discovery Channel often has excellent travel shows, and CNN covers the world news in detail.

The good news is, it shouldn’t be difficult to “stay curious” – the travel industry is vibrant and ever-changing. There’s always something new to learn or observe. Anyone who dreams of working in this industry must be ‘up with the play’ on a daily basis.

What are your favourite sources of travel information and inspiration? Share in the comments below :)

Check out the other posts in our series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’.

Part 1: How to Get Organised
Part 2: How to Improve your Reading and Writing Skills
Part 3: How to be a Great Communicator
Part 4: How to Build a Support Network when Studying From Home
Part 5: How to Make Contacts in your Community

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Study from home tip: Make contacts in your community

Posted on 05/10/2016 by
A great way to learn about the tourism industry is to visit local travel and tourism businesses in your town or region.

A great way to learn about the tourism industry is to visit local travel and tourism businesses in your town or region.

Welcome to Part 5 of our six-part series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we share one practical tip to help you excel at your studies. Be sure to check out the other blog posts in the series (see the end of this article for links).

When you study via distance learning, the world is your classroom! You can study where you want, when you want – as long as you hand in your assignments on time and put in the hours, you can enjoy a very flexible lifestyle.

However, one downside to studying from home is that you can’t rely on your tutor to arrange industry visits or famil trips. Instead, we encourage you to take this into your own hands and get out there to experience the tourism industry for yourself.

All you need to do is find some tourism businesses in your region or town. You’d be amazed at how many there are to choose from. Make a list of local contacts and industry employers, such as travel agents, airports, car hire companies, attraction operators, hotels, and visitor information centres – just to name a few.

These businesses will be a great resource for you throughout your studies. Make a point of visiting them during their quiet periods – you can grab a free brochure or simply take a look around.

If approached professionally, most employers will be more than happy to answer some of your questions and be supportive of your studies. Who knows, they might even offer you some work experience in the future?

Another idea is to pretend to be a tourist for a day. Catch a bus or ferry, splash out on an adventure tourism activity, or enjoy a meal at a nearby hotel. You will have some fun and learn a lot along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Get out and about and discover the tourism industry in your backyard.

Check out the other posts in our series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’.

Part 1: How to Get Organised
Part 2: How to Improve your Reading and Writing Skills
Part 3: How to be a Great Communicator
Part 4: How to Build a Support Network when Studying From Home

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How to build a support network when studying from home

Posted on 28/09/2016 by
We know that students who are supported by family and friends are more likely to do well - so get them on board early!

We know that students who are supported by family and friends are more likely to do well – so get them on board early!

Welcome to Part 4 of our six-part series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we share one practical tip to help you excel at your studies. If you’re new to the series, be sure to check out Part 1: How to Get Organised, and Part 2: How to Improve your Reading and Writing Skills, and Part 3: How to be a Great Communicator.

Becoming a successful distance learner is often a team effort – the road to success is rarely travelled alone. Behind every ITC graduate, there is a supportive friend, family member, tutor or mentor.

We recommend that you enlist the help of your friends and family throughout your studies. While they can’t write your assignments for you, they can help you manage your time and cheer you on from the sidelines.

So how can you go about building a support network?

The first thing to do is to inform your close friends and family of your intention to study from home (or, if you’re already studying, to keep them updated about your progress). Tell them your reasons for studying and let them know that you might be busier than usual throughout the duration of your qualification. Also tell them your career goals and what you’ll do with the qualification once you graduate.

Telling your friends and family will help them feel involved in your decision, and they might even offer to help! For example, they might offer to babysit the kids one day a week or take on some extra chores around the house.

If they don’t offer, and you feel like you could use some extra support, try asking – they probably didn’t realise you needed help, and will be more than willing to lend a hand. The most helpful thing they can do is give you time and space to focus on your studies, especially when you’re working on an assessment or preparing for a telephone role-play.

That said, no matter how supportive your friends and family are, if they have never studied from home then they probably won’t “get it”. Sometimes the best support comes from your fellow classmates. Connect with people taking the same course as you online through the Moodle forums or ask your tutor to pair you up with someone in your course. Two minds often make better than one.

If all else fails, you can always rely on the tutors for support. Whether you need some extra guidance about an assignment, or just want someone to cheer you on, the tutors are there to help you succeed.

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How to be a great communicator

Posted on 21/09/2016 by
What do all airline, travel and tourism jobs have in common? The need for excellent communication skills.

What do all airline, travel and tourism jobs have in common? The need for excellent communication skills.

Welcome to Part 3 of our series ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we share one practical tip to help you excel at your studies. If you’re new to the series, be sure to check out Part 1: How to Get Organised, and Part 2: How to Improve your Reading and Writing Skills.  

New Zealanders are famous around the world for being friendly and polite communicators. For example, in London you’ll find many Kiwis working in pubs and hotels – tourism and hospitality employers just love our charming approach to customer service.

Although we have a natural talent for communication, there’s always room for improvement. At ITC Study From Home, we don’t just teach airline, travel and tourism – we also give you the skills you need to be an effective communicator in a professional environment.

When you study with us, your natural communication skills will be supercharged!

In the meantime, you can start practising good communication skills from today.

The first step is to be aware of how you – and others – communicate. Start reflecting on your own habits, and observe those of others around you. For example, do you remember to say please and thank you when appropriate? How do customer service representatives treat you in shops and restaurants? What makes you feel valued and respected, and what makes you feel unseen or unappreciated? By being aware of other people’s habits, you can start to refine your own.

Another tip is to listen carefully. Most people think of communication as talking – when in fact, the best thing you can do is listen. Pay close attention to what people say and you will naturally find it easier to respond to them in a polite and genuine manner.

When communicating online, it’s also important to write clearly. Did you know that around 90% of communication is nonverbal? This means people pay a lot of attention to the tone of your voice, your hand gestures, and your overall ‘presence’. When you’re writing an email, all of these important communication cues disappear – you only have the words on the page to convey your true meaning. So try to write as clearly as possible, and always remember to be kind! See our Online Communication Tips for Distance Learners for more advice.

Becoming a great communicator takes practice and patience, but if you remember to listen carefully and be polite, you can’t go too far wrong! Just remember the wise words your mother told you: ‘treat others as you’d like to be treated’.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to ask your tutor or post a comment below. We’d love to help. 

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How to improve your reading and writing skills

Posted on 14/09/2016 by
Becoming a great reader and writer can help you achieve your Study From Home qualification

Becoming a great reader and writer can help you achieve your Study From Home qualification.

Welcome to Part 2 of our six-part series, ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we will share one practical tip to help you excel at studying from home. Be sure to check back every Wednesday for the next tip.

Last week, we published Part 1 of the series: How to get organised and ace your studies. Hopefully by now you’re a whiz at time management and you’re sticking to your study schedule.

This week’s tip is all about reading and writing. These two skills are important for any course or career. Here are some ways you can improve your reading and writing abilities.

Practice makes perfect

Let us start by saying: no one is born a brilliant reader or writer. It takes practice. So even if you hate reading and writing, have faith – the more you do it, the less difficult it will become.

Our best tip for new distance learners is to keep trying. Don’t give up on your assignments, even if they seem hard at first. Good things take time. By the end of the course, you’ll be surprised to see how far your reading and writing skills have come.

Proofread assignments

Did you see our article from last month about the power of proofreading? When you’re writing an assignment, try to leave time to proofread it with fresh eyes before you submit it for final approval. You’d be surprised at the small mistakes you pick up on.

Try ‘real’ writing – with a pen!

Sometimes writing with a pen – instead of typing on the computer – can help you concentrate and figure out exactly what you want to say. Plus there’s no distractions – just you, your thoughts, and a blank piece of paper. Give yourself 30 minutes to brainstorm some ideas and see what you come up with.

Take notes as you read

Many people struggle to retain information through reading. If you find that you forget a sentence as soon as you read it, taking notes might help. Jot down key points on a small notepad, or highlight important sections of text so you can come back to it later. Another tip is to read everything through twice.

Pay attention to feedback

No one gets it 100% right the first time! When you hand in an assignment, ask your tutor to provide feedback about how you could do better in the future. They will be more than happy to provide ideas for improvement.

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How to get organised and ace your studies

Posted on 07/09/2016 by
One of the best ways to get organised is to plan for the week ahead on a Sunday afternoon. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and do some planning - you'll be surprised at how 'in control' it makes you feel.

One of the best ways to get organised is to plan for the week ahead on a Sunday afternoon. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and do some planning – you’ll be surprised at how ‘in control’ it makes you feel.

Welcome to Part 1 of our six-part series: ‘Becoming a Successful Distance Learner’. Every week, we will share one practical tip to help you excel at studying from home. Be sure to check back every Wednesday for the next tip.

Do you ever feel like “there’s just not enough hours in the day?” or “no matter how hard you try, you can never cross everything off your to-do list?”

We understand. Life is busy, and it can be incredibly difficult to fit study around work, family and personal commitments.

Difficult, yes. But impossible? No. All you have to do is get REALLY organised!

Don’t worry – we can help. Getting organised is often a matter of creating positive, productive habits. And like any habits, they can be learned with patience and practice.

Here are three habits of highly organised students – incorporate these habits into your weekly routine and you’ll be amazed by the results.

1. Create a study plan (and stick to it!)

Every Sunday afternoon, sit down and plan for the week ahead. Use a calendar, diary, or planner to block out all of your non-negotiable commitments (such as picking the kids up from school or going to work), and then dedicate time to study around these commitments.

There’s an art to creating a study plan and everyone has a slightly different approach. The most important thing is that you stick to it! For clear instructions on how to create a plan, including a free study plan template, check out this blog post we wrote on the topic earlier this year.

2. Choose your Study Spot

Successful distance learners study in the same spot all the time (or at least as often as they can). This could be a corner of a bedroom or living room, a spare room, or even the garage – try to choose a spot where you will be comfortable and uninterrupted.

The reason why it’s good to choose a Study Spot is that it means you can keep all of your ‘study tools’ in one place. For example, your computer, pens, notes, and books. This will save you from getting up every five minutes. Try to make sure all your tools are within arm’s reach.

Studying in the same spot all the time also means you can separate ‘home life’ from ‘study life’. When you sit down at your desk you know it’s time to concentrate. And when you leave your desk, you know you can relax and not worry about study again until the next day.

3. Set small goals and reward yourself as you go

Another habit of highly organised students is that they reward themselves for hard work along the way. Staying organised can be tiring, so you might as well give yourself a pat on the back when you do well.

Here are some examples of small goals and rewards for being organised:

  • If you stick to your study plan all week, you can go to the movies with friends on Saturday night
  • If you finish your assignment on time, you can sleep-in on the weekend
  • If you don’t look at your phone during any of your study sessions, you can buy yourself some new stationery

 
Set rewards based on what will inspire you the most – for some it might be a cup of hot chocolate at a nearby cafe, for others it might be a brand new pen from the stationery store.

Staying organised takes time and commitment, but once you form good habits you’ll find it becomes easier and easier to stick to your study plan. Remember to celebrate small wins along the way, and if you have any questions, be sure to reach out to your ITC Study From Home tutor.

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The power of proofreading

Posted on 24/08/2016 by
Worried that your assignments are riddled with spelling errors? Get out a red pen and mark them the old-fashioned way!

Worried that your assignments are riddled with spelling errors? Get out a red pen and mark them the old-fashioned way!

Is there any better feeling than writing the last word of an assignment?

But wait! Before you jump for joy and hit ‘send’, there’s one more thing you need to do: proofread your work.

So many students skip this important step, but proofreading your work with fresh eyes (ideally a day later) can do wonders for your overall grade.

Of course, you will only have time for proofreading if you finish your assignment before the deadline. If possible, try to work ahead so you have at least one extra day to proofread your work before you submit it to your tutor.

Here are a few proofreading tips to get you started:

Proofread with fresh eyes

What time of the day do you feel the most focused and awake? For most people, this is in the morning after a cup of tea or coffee. Choose this time to proofread your work. You’ll be more likely to pick up mistakes if you’re not sleepy.

Print out your work

It’s hard to catch typos on the computer screen. Print out your assignment and go through it the old-fashioned way – with a red pen!

Read it out loud

Sometimes you won’t realise something is wrong until you read the words out to yourself. Find a quiet room and read your assignment out loud and see if you can find any errors.

Ask for help from a friend

Find a ‘study buddy’ and proofread each other’s work. This is a great way to get feedback – just make sure you don’t copy each other’s ideas.

Use spellchecker

When all else fails, use the spellchecker on Microsoft Word or a free editing software such as Grammarly.

While typos aren’t the end of the world (we all make them), it’s good to get in the habit of regularly proofreading your work. This habit will serve you well during your studies, and also in your career (for example, when sending emails). Good luck and get out those red pens!

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How to stop multitasking and focus on your studies

Posted on 17/08/2016 by
Do you struggle to stay focused when studying from home? Below we share five tips to help you kick your multitasking habits to the curb.

Do you struggle to stay focused when studying from home? Below we share five tips to help you kick your multitasking habits to the curb.

We live in a multitasking society. At any one moment you might be checking your phone, watching TV, eating dinner, and maybe even talking to your family at the same time. And although you might be able to multitask with ease, it’s important not to make this a study habit.

When it comes to studying, multitasking is the enemy of productivity. It’s much better to sit down for 45 minutes of uninterrupted, focused study than to sit down for 1.5 hours of ‘multitasking study’. Imagine how much more you could achieve if you studied in focused bursts instead of checking Facebook every ten minutes.

Finding focus is hard when you study from home. There’s always dishes to be done or washing to be hung out. We understand that the temptation to multitask can be strong, especially if you have young kids.

Below we’ve outlined five tips to help you focus.

1. Try the Pomodoro technique

Have you heard of the Pomodoro time management technique? In a nutshell, this technique is about working in 25-minute bursts. You set a kitchen timer for 25 minutes and focus 100% on the task at-hand during that time (for example, the task might be reading study notes or completing an online test). You can’t veer from the task for 25 minutes (no Facebook or checking your phone).

Once the timer goes off, you’re allowed a 5-minute break. Then, once you’ve completed four ‘pomodoros’ in a row (four 25-minute bursts), you can take a 15-20 minute break.

Many people love the Pomodoro technique because it gives them a small break to look forward to every 25 minutes. Often it’s easier to not check your phone for 25 minutes than it is to not check your phone for four hours. Why not try this one at home?

2. Hide your phone

Your smartphone can be a real productivity killer. Turn your phone on silent and leave it in another room while you are trying to focus on your studies – out of sight, out of mind. If you’re expecting a phone call, leave it in another room but turn the ringer on loud. That way, you’ll have to get up if it rings – saving you the temptation of checking Instagram every five minutes.

3. Study without internet

If possible, print out your study notes or download them to your computer and ‘go offline’ for a couple of hours. The internet is full of distractions and can be a huge time-waster. Alternatively, you could try blocking the most distracting websites, such as Facebook and YouTube. There are several apps that will do this for you – check out this list from Mashable to get you started.

4. Go to the library

Do you find studying from home really distracting? Maybe it’s impossible to concentrate unless your house is clean? Or perhaps you keep finding yourself at the fridge door? Sometimes the best thing to do is leave the house for a few hours. Go to the library and study in the peace and quiet. Many people also find that they are more productive at the library because everyone else is in a ‘working’ mode. The atmosphere can help you stay motivated and on-task.

5. Ask your family for support

Sometimes your family can be the biggest distraction. Let them know when you need to focus so they know not to interrupt you. Ask for their support and understanding, and remind them that you won’t be studying forever – once you have your qualification you’ll have more time for your family again. If you have young children, maybe try to study after they have gone to sleep or when they are having an afternoon nap.

What do you do to stay focused and stop multitasking? Do you have any tips that aren’t on this list? Let us know in the comments below!

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The power of studying in the same spot every day

Posted on 10/08/2016 by
Studying in the same spot every day can help you stay focused.

Studying in the same spot every day can help you stay focused.

One of the perks about studying from home is that you can technically study anywhere – from bed in your pajamas, from the library, from your local cafe. Wherever you can get electricity and an internet connection, you can study!

Yet, just because you can study from anywhere, doesn’t mean you should. There’s power in creating a designated study space and studying in the same spot every day.

Here are three ways this makes you more productive.

1. Everything you need is in one place

How many times have you gone to the library only to realise that you’ve left half your study notes at home? It’s easy to forget things when you’re rushing from one place to the next. With a designated study space, you can enjoy peace of mind that everything is right where you left it.

2. Your study space is a distraction-free zone

If you study somewhere different every day, you’re more likely to stumble across distractions. But if you’re studying in the same spot, you’ll start to associate it with learning. When you sit down at your desk, you’ll know it’s ‘study time’. The good news is, this also works in reverse – when you leave your desk, you’ll know study time is over and that you can relax.

3. Better study-life balance

Following on from point number two, creating a designated study space helps you enjoy better study-life balance. When you’re studying from home, it can be hard to switch off – especially if your study notes are scattered throughout the house. Many people find that keeping their study notes in one place helps them to feel more organised and less overwhelmed. And the good news is, you don’t need a home office to make this work: check out this motivated mum who created a study space in her wardrobe.

These are just some of the benefits of studying in the same spot every day. Have you tried this technique? Do you find that it makes you more productive? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Online communication tips for distance learners

Posted on 03/08/2016 by
When you study from home, most of your communication with classmates and tutors will be done online. Read on for some tips on how to communicate effectively via email and forums.

When you study from home, most of your communication with classmates and tutors will be done online. Read on for some tips on how to communicate effectively via email and forums.

What do long distance relationships and studying from home have in common? The importance of communication.

Anyone who’s in a long distance relationship will know that communication is key. It’s hard to keep the love alive if you’re not regularly communicating with your partner.

The same ‘rule’ applies to distance learning. Fortunately, it’s easier than ever to communicate with others, no matter how many miles keep you apart (thank you internet).

When you study from home, you’ll spend a lot of time chatting with tutors and classmates via email and online forums. Below we’ve outlined a few tips to help you navigate the world of online communication with ease.

1. Keep it real

The first thing to remember when communicating online is that you’re chatting to real people with real feelings! Your online classmates are just like you. Make sure you communicate with the same level of respect and compassion as you would in a classroom environment.

2. Keep it clean

Take care not to swear, make insensitive jokes, or use too much slang. You don’t have to be completely formal – the use of some ‘text language’ is okay within reason – but try to remember that not everyone will understand what you mean. Where possible, use polite and friendly language, and avoid making jokes that some people could find offensive.

3. Keep it concise

Try to communicate in a clear, concise manner so you don’t overwhelm your classmates with long messages. If your note is more than a few sentences, use paragraphs and subheadings to break up the text for easy reading.

4.Keep it appropriate

Online forums are for study purposes, so don’t use this tool to have private conversations or share inappropriate content. We understand that some conversations will naturally veer away from study, but try to stick to the topic at-hand where possible.

5. Keep it friendly

If you take one thing away from this article, make it this. As long as you communicate in a nice, friendly manner you can’t go too far wrong! Treat other people as you would like to be treated, and you’ll find that the world of online communication can be a warm and welcoming place.

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How to motivate yourself to study when you feel like giving up

Posted on 27/07/2016 by
Sometimes studying can feel a lot like climbing a steep set of stairs - sometimes you want to quit and go down before you get to the top. But stay motivated - the view from above will be worth it.

Sometimes studying can feel a lot like climbing a steep set of stairs – sometimes you want to quit and go down before you get to the top. But stay motivated – the view from above will be worth it.

“I’m so tired.”

“I don’t understand.”

“It’s too hard.”

Do you ever feel this way about studying? Like it’s all too hard, and it might be easier to give up on your qualifications completely?

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had days when we’d rather not write assignments, or read study notes. When we’d prefer to blob out on the couch in front of the television instead.

But although giving up might seem like the easy option, it’s actually the hardest. It might provide you with some short-term relief, but in the long run, you’ll always be wondering: “what if I kept going? What if I didn’t give up my studies?”

Don’t spend your life wondering. We’re here to remind you that you can achieve your qualification. When there’s a will, there’s a way, and we’ll do our best to help you on your journey to success.

If you’re in need of some extra motivation this week, here are three tips to help you stay focused and get back on track.

1. Talk to your Study From Home tutor

When you’re unmotivated and overwhelmed, the first step is to talk to your Study From Home tutor. Let us know how you’re feeling and we’ll happily give you some advice. We’ve helped many students throughout the years and we understand that sometimes motivation can be a struggle – but we’ve got plenty of tips to help you on your way.

2. Look after your health

Do your best to look after your health by getting plenty of sleep and eating a healthy diet. Have you ever noticed how things feel worse when you’re tired or hungry? Don’t let a lack of sleep or too many takeaways make you feel like giving up on your studies. Get a good night’s rest and see how much better you feel in the morning.

3. Write it out

Feel like you have so much to do but don’t know where to start? Write a list? This will help to get your anxieties out of your head and onto paper. Once you’ve written everything down, see if there’s anything you can cross off the list, or put off to a later date. For example, if you allocate two hours for cooking dinner every night, maybe you can stock up on frozen veggies and frozen meals so that you have more time in the evenings? Sometimes what we think we ‘need’ to do is more flexible than we realise.

Remember: you won’t feel this way forever

It’s totally normal for you to feel fed up with your studies every once and awhile, but try to remember that this feeling won’t last forever. It will pass. But do you know what will last forever? Your qualification. Once you graduate, a world of new opportunities will open, and any tough times will fade away. You’ve got this!

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What are you willing to give up in order to achieve your dreams?

Posted on 20/07/2016 by
In order to achieve our dreams, we need to make some small sacrifices along the way.

Sometimes in order to achieve our dreams, we need to make some small sacrifices along the way.

This is a big question, but try to put some thought into it, as your answer could lead to big success.

Whenever we think about achieving something, our focus tends to be on what we’re going to gain – not on what we might have to give up.

But ask any successful person and they will tell you they didn’t get to where they are today without making some sacrifices.

“The most important decision about your goals is not what you are willing to do to achieve them, but what you are willing to give up.” – Dave Ramsey.

There are only so many hours in the day, and when you start studying, you might have to give up a few things to stay on top of your assignments.

It’s all about making the best use of your time.

When Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love set out to be a writer, she gave up television so she could focus on her creative projects.

“What are you willing to give up, in order to become who you really need to be?” – Elizabeth Gilbert.

Grab a blank piece of paper and write down everything you spend your time doing. Next, highlight everything you would be willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your qualification.

This simple exercise will help you identify the things that you can say no to when life gets busy. You don’t need to give things up for good, or all the time – just when you’re behind on your studies.

For example, you might highlight things like television, going out with friends, or baking. Even though these are things you love, they won’t help you achieve your goals – and therefore they can wait until you’ve finished studying.

As hard as this sounds, we promise it will make it easier to reach your dreams.

What’s one thing you would be willing to give up? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Study tip: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Posted on 13/07/2016 by
It's always a good idea to reach out to friends or family when you need a helping hand.

It’s always a good idea to reach out to friends or family when you need a helping hand.

One of the best study tips we can share with you is this: don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by your studies, see if there is anyone in your network who can lend you a helping hand.

For example, ask your family if they can help you with some of the household chores so you have more time to study in the evening.

Or, if you have children, see if you know of anyone who would be willing to babysit for a couple of hours a week.

We understand it can be hard to ask for help, but you’ll never know unless you try. From our experience, people are often really supportive.

Here are a few tips to make asking for help easier:

  • Ask as early as possible. Ideally, you should ask for help before you really need it. Talk to your friends and family before you start studying, and let them know you might need some support along the way.
  • Offer to return the favour. You won’t be studying forever. Offer to lend a helping hand once you have more free time.
  • Be open to suggestions. When you ask for help, people will probably give you some advice. This is their way of showing they care, and some of their suggestions might be really helpful. Try to keep an open mind and take some of their tips on board.

 
Don’t forget that we’re here to help you, too. You can contact your tutor through Moodle or by calling 0800 788 394. We’ve all studied via distance learning, so we’ve got plenty of tips and tricks up our sleeves to help you succeed.

Good luck, and remember – asking for help is a strength, not a weakness!

Asking for help is a strength, not a weakness

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Are you ready to study from home?

Posted on 06/07/2016 by
Follow our simple checklist to figure out if you're ready to study from home.

Follow our simple checklist to figure out if you’re ready to study from home.

Studying from home is a big commitment, so it’s a good idea to wait until you’re ready to fully immerse yourself in the learning experience. Rushing into study could cause stress and compromise your success – it’s best to be as prepared as possible.

So, how will you know when you’re ready?

We’ve compiled a checklist of things you should do before you enrol on a distance learning course. These steps will help you prepare for student life.

Please note, this checklist is intended as a guide only. If you have any questions about any of our courses, please contact us.

1. Talk to friends and family

Tell your loved ones that you’re thinking about studying from home. They might have some valuable advice for you, or even offer to help out from time to time. Studying is much easier with the support of your friends and family.

2. Speak with an ITC Study From Home tutor

You probably have lots of questions about studying from home. The best people to ask are the ITC Study From Home tutors. They will be able to help you figure out which course is right for you. Call 0800 788 394 to request to speak with a tutor.

3. Decide whether to study part-time or full-time

We offer two study options for distance learning – part-time or full-time. Part-time courses take on average 40 weeks to complete, and you must do a minimum of 10-15 hours study each week. Full-time courses are 20 weeks on average, and require a minimum of 20-25 hours of study each week. Figure out which option will suit you best.

4. Create a draft study plan

The best way to see whether you have the time to study from home is to create a draft study plan. Follow the steps in this helpful guide to see if you have enough ‘study hours’ each week. Sometimes we don’t know how much spare time we actually have until we see it on paper.

5. Write down what you would be prepared to give up in order to study

One of the hardest things about study is that it often requires you to make some short-term sacrifices. What would you give up for six months or a year in order to achieve your qualification? Write a list of things that you could “live without”. Some examples include television, going out on the weekends, and spending time on social media. You probably won’t have to give these up completely, but you may have to go without them for a week or two during busy times.

Being aware of these sacrifices before you start your course ensures you’re not in for any surprises. We promise all your favourite TV shows will be waiting for you once you’ve achieved your qualification!

We hope this checklist has helped you figure out if you’re ready to Study From Home. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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How to create a study plan (and stick to it!)

Posted on 29/06/2016 by
Don't let time get away on you. Follow our tips for creating a study plan and re-take control over your schedule.

Don’t let time get away on you. Follow our tips for creating a study plan and re-take control over your schedule.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

“In order to succeed, we must first believe we can.”

“The harder you work for something, the greater you’ll feel when you achieve it.”

We’ve all read the motivational quotes – we know that in order to reach our goals, we need to work hard and put in effort.

Yet although these quotes might inspire us to get off the couch and get to work, they don’t tell us how to achieve our goals.

It’s fantastic to feel motivated – but it’s not enough. The secret to success is actually this: creating a plan, and sticking to it.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

The best way to create good study habits is to stick to a study plan. Here’s how to create one.

Step 1: Start with a blank study timetable

First, decide how you will keep track of your time. Choose a calendar format, such as:

  • A diary or journal
  • A wall calendar
  • A digital calendar (e.g. Google Calendar)

 
Or, to get started right away, download our free study timetable (Microsoft Word).

Step 2: Block out prior commitments

On your study timetable, block out all of your prior commitments, such as:

  • Work
  • Travelling to/from work
  • Caring for family/dependants
  • Church, sports, hobbies
  • Eating, cooking
  • Housework and chores
  • Relaxing and socialising

 
Step 3: Block out study time

Once you have entered all of these commitments in your study timetable, count how many ‘spare’ hours you have leftover each week.

Remember, if your course is 20 weeks you must complete 20-25 hours of study each week. If your course is 40 weeks, you must complete 10-15 hours of study each week.

Block out time for study in your spare time. Try to dedicate at least one full day to your studies per week if possible.

If you don’t have enough time to study, consider dropping one of your prior commitments to make room, such as socialising. You will probably find that each week looks a little different – the key is to be flexible and juggle things around to make study fit.

Tip: Plan for disruptions! Don’t fill every available minute with study – you need to keep some free time every day to deal with all those unexpected situations that pop up.

Step 4: Stick to it!

The plan only works if you stick to it! Treat your study plan as your daily schedule/guide and follow it as best you can. Here are some tips for staying on track:

  • Print your study plan and put it somewhere you will see it every day, for example on the fridge or above your desk. If your calendar is digital, set reminders on your phone and refer to it throughout the day.
  • Be prepared to change your plan. Sometimes unexpected things come up and you will need to reshuffle your commitments. For example, if the kids are late to bed one night and you can’t study, try to fit those ‘missed study hours’ in later in the week. Some weeks will go better than others.
  • Reward yourself for following your plan – not every day, but maybe once a fortnight. This could be with some chocolate, a movie – pick something that will motivate you to keep going. Note: a week off studying is not a supportive reward!

 
Habits don’t form overnight, but after a few weeks of sticking to your plan, it’ll begin to feel like second nature: have faith in yourself and keep going.

And don’t forget to ask your tutors if you need any help along the way. Contact us via Moodle, or pick up the phone and give us a call. We’re always here to help. Good luck!

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What are SMART goals and why are they important?

Posted on 22/06/2016 by
The 'SMART goals' approach is a well-known style of goal setting that can be applied to your studies. Here's how SMART goals work and why they matter.

The ‘SMART goals’ approach is a well-known style of goal setting that can be applied to your studies. Here’s how SMART goals work and why they matter.

If you’re struggling to keep up with the demands of studying from home, you may find that setting SMART goals helps you to stay on track. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.

Here’s some more information about SMART goals and how to set them.

Specific

Goals are more likely to be achieved if they are specific. For example, telling yourself ‘I’m going to read five pages of course notes this Saturday morning’ is far more effective than telling yourself ‘I’m going to do some study this weekend’. What does ‘some’ study mean? It could mean anything from five minutes to five hours. Don’t leave your study goals up to chance – be as specific as possible.

Measurable

You must be able to measure all of your goals. For example, ‘learn section B of the textbook’ is not as clear as ‘correctly answer all the practice questions of section B of the textbook’. Consider using number quantities (how much, how many etc) to set your goals and make them measurable.

Achievable

Make sure achieving your goal is actually possible. Too often we set unrealistic goals for ourselves and this leads to disappointment and frustration. Remember to leave more time than you think you need, and to plan far ahead – the last thing you want to do is get behind because you thought you could cram all your assignments into one weekend.

Relevant

A relevant goal is one that has meaning – one that matters. Ask yourself: ‘If I achieve this goal, will I be helping myself to get ahead? And does it fit in with my long-term plans?’. When it comes to study, we often convince ourselves that things like shopping for new stationery or cooking three-hour meals are really important. When in reality, pretty pens and gourmet meals won’t help you get any closer to your dream job. Focus on the goals that will get you the best results.

Time-bound

Last but not least, all goals should have a time limit. Without a sense of urgency, there will be no real motivation to complete the task before a certain time. Give yourself deadlines for all of your assignments (or follow the ones set out by your tutor!). Stick to them, no matter what – it might be tough at the time, but it will be so worth it when you’re graduating with your qualification.

If you are having time management troubles, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your Study From Tutor and ask for advice – we have plenty more tips and tricks about staying on track.

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How to motivate yourself to exercise in winter

Posted on 15/06/2016 by
It’s common to drop exercise as soon as it gets cold, but there are many reasons why you should keep it up. Here’s how to stay fit in winter!

It’s common to drop exercise as soon as it gets cold, but there are many reasons why you should keep it up. Here’s how to stay fit in winter!

As soon as the days get darker, shorter and colder, exercise tends to drop off the to-do list. Staying inside where it’s warm and cozy is far more appealing than heading outside for a run, walk or swim!

However, it’s important that you stay active during the winter months, especially if you’re studying from home. If you spend too much time cooped up inside, this could negatively impact your productivity and lead to feelings of tiredness, lethargy and even anxiety.

The benefits of exercising in winter 

Exercising during winter will help keep you fit, but you will also benefit from better moods. Many people find they feel happier, stronger and more focused after some physical activity. It doesn’t have to be difficult – a short stroll through the park can do wonders for your energy levels.

Other benefits of exercise include:

  • Health, vitality and a strong immune system
  • Vitamin D and fresh air
  • Keeping warm!
  • Stay in shape

 
How to maintain an exercise routine

So how can you keep exercising when the weather turns moody and the couch is much more appealing than the treadmill?

If you’ve never been much of a gym goer before, this could be the time to sign up. Gyms are much quieter through winter so you can get used to the gear before it gets busy again, and all the new equipment and on-site trainers will help boost your enthusiasm for exercise.

For those who are already gym fans, try signing up for regular classes to mix it up a little. Spin classes, boot camps and dance sessions can help you make the extra effort.

Another incentive is to sign up for an event in early summer. A 10-kilometre run, half marathon or even full marathon all require training before you can complete them, so signing up will give you no choice but to commit to regular exercise in the lead up to the day.

You could also find a friend and plan to work out together. If necessary, sign up for one of the above options or simply create your own plans, and hold one another accountable if either of you fail to do the exercise.

Of course, nothing works quite like a great incentive, so promise yourself some kind of treat each week if you manage to exercise on three days, for example. Whether that’s lunch at your favourite café or a new book, the reward will help you stay motivated to achieve your goals.

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How to reset a bad day

Posted on 08/06/2016 by
Baking a delicious treat is one way to turn your bad mood into a good mood!

Baking a delicious treat is one way to turn your bad mood into a good mood!

We all have them. Those days when nothing seems to go right, when you run out of milk and can’t have your morning coffee, or when you just can’t seem to focus on your study, let alone get anything done.

Bad days happen to everyone, but you don’t have to let it run its course. Instead, hit the reset button. Even though it can take some time, ‘resetting’ can significantly increase your productivity and mood afterwards – saving you from toiling away and not getting anything done at all.

Here are a few great ways to start fresh, even if it’s 2pm!

Clean your house

There’s something about the act of cleaning that simply makes you feel good. Whether it’s vacuuming the whole house, scrubbing the oven or getting the bathroom spotless, the feeling of accomplishment after achieving a tidy, clean home is undeniable. Put on your favourite tunes and get ready to scrub, because this activity can completely reset your day (not to mention, give you a clean house and win you brownie points from the flatmates/family, too).

Exercise

Pull out your yoga mat, put on your running shoes or head to the pool for a swim – any form of exercise can work wonders for your mood. This is because when you get the body moving, your brain releases endorphins, which are chemicals that create a positive feeling.

Once you’ve had your workout, you should be in a much more positive frame of mind, and ready to start the day over.

Phone a friend

Phoning a friend isn’t just a game show shortcut, it’s a legitimate way to improve your day. Give a good friend a ring and catch up, make plans for the weekend and have a good whinge about how badly your day is going. The kind and understanding voice at the other end of the line will help get you out of that rut.

Make a good meal

Cooking and baking can be an extremely cathartic exercise. As you give your hands and mind something specific to do with a set outcome, you’ll quickly lose yourself in the process of making a delicious meal or treat. By the time you’re ready to try studying again, you should feel refreshed, and at the very least, you’ll have something yummy to eat!

Have a nap

If all else fails, head back to bed for a nap. It’s entirely possible that you’re just a bit tired and need an extra hour before you’re truly ready to face the day.

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5 tricks to boost your memory

Posted on 01/06/2016 by
Caption

A great memory helps you be a great student – here are five ways you can improve yours.

No matter what you’re studying or how much you need to learn, a good memory can help you achieve better results and gain confidence in your abilities. The good news is, there are ways you can train your brain to retain more information than usual. Try these five tricks to boost your memory to make studying that much easier.

1. Practice

Even when you’re not studying, practice training your brain to remember things. For example, try to learn your friends’ cellphone numbers, or remember the number plate of a passing car. Simply by forcing your brain to remember things, you can make small improvements. Think of it like exercising a muscle!

2. Eat well

Nutrition plays an important role in your ability to remember things. If you’re too hungry to concentrate on what you’re learning, or you consume too much sugar and then crash, you will probably find it hard to retain information.

Try to enjoy a healthy, balanced diet that doesn’t include too much sugar or processed foods. Specific foods, such as oily fish, pumpkin seeds and other sources of omega-3 fats, have been found to be good for brain function.

3. Play games

Who knew playing games could be good for your studies? Games give your brain a good workout, which can help to strengthen your memory.

Visit the app store on your phone or head online to find a new game. You’ll want something that you haven’t played before, that’s challenging and rewarding.

4. Exercise

It’s good for boosting your mood, for fitness, and of course, it can help your memory, too. Look for any workout that gets your blood pumping (it’s good for the brain in the same way that it’s good for the heart). Sports that include hand-eye coordination (such as tennis or netball) are extra helpful.

5. Get enough sleep

A good night’s sleep is extremely important for everything from your energy levels to your mood, and it can also play a role in your ability to learn new things and remember them. Adults need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep to function properly, so spend a week recording how many hours you’re clocking, and aim to improve it if you’re falling behind.

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The pros and cons of studying with others

Posted on 25/05/2016 by
Studying with a friend or in a group has pros and cons – here are the ones you need to know if you’re considering it.

Studying with a friend or in a group has pros and cons – here are the ones you need to know if you’re considering it.

When you’ve been studying from home for a while, it’s easy to become bored with your environment, or simply to want a change to keep things interesting. One way to do this is to get together with friends who also have studies to work on.

Here are the pros and cons of working with others for study!

Pro: They can keep you motivated

If you’re working with someone who is a hard worker, you’ll quickly pick up similar habits. For example, they might be particularly good at knuckling down and working through tasks, which can inspire you to do the same.

Con: They can be a distraction

On the other hand, someone who doesn’t have the best work ethic may actually slow you down. They might find reasons to chat about non-study matters, or end up spending time surfing the net. Similarly, you may be inclined to pick up similar habits or give in to chatting about weekend plans instead of the task at hand.

Pro: You can ask for help

Your study buddy may be able to answer tough questions that you’re struggling with, explain confusing concepts or simply be there to bounce ideas off. A second brain to untangle a puzzle is always a big help, which can really improve your progress.

Con: Timing doesn’t always work

When your studies rely on someone else to be around, it can be tough to make sure it happens as often as it should. If your study buddy is hard to get hold of or tends to pull out at the last minute, you might need to switch back to solo study or find a new partner.

Pro: It can make it more fun

Making studying from home fun is a great way to become more engaged in your work. With a partner there to talk about concepts with, take short breaks with, and troubleshoot with, the time can pass more quickly and leave you feeling like study was less of a chore and more of a rewarding and enjoyable work session.

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5 tips for a good night’s sleep

Posted on 18/05/2016 by
Sleep is an important part of being able to study well from home without feeling tired. Try these 5 tips to sleep better each night.

Sleep is an important part of being able to study well from home without feeling tired. Try these 5 tips to sleep better each night.

The difference between a good night’s sleep and a bad one is more than just a bit of tossing and turning. Sleep poorly and you’ll struggle to concentrate during the day, and you may even feel grumpier or eat more. Sleep well and you’ll be better prepared to focus, and more mentally able to tackle tough tasks – all vital for a productive day of studying from home.

As much as 36 per cent of New Zealanders feel tired or fatigued every day, according to a Southern Cross Healthcare Group survey, so it’s important to aim for the best night’s sleep possible.

Here are our five top tips!

1. Exercise during the day

Exercise is an essential part of a healthy body, but it can also help you sleep. Wear yourself out with sports, walking, a trip to the gym or even just yoga at home. Any amount of exercise is better than nothing, but aim for 30 minutes per day.

2. Create a routine

Your body may respond well to a nightly routine that will help train it into knowing it’s time for rest. This may include a cup of non-caffeinated tea, reading a magazine or book, or writing a to-do list for tomorrow. Ensure that no part of this routine includes exercise or stress, as it should wind you down rather than wake you up.

3. Invest in proper bedding

We spend roughly a third of our lives in bed, so it makes sense to feel comfortable and supported during that time. If your mattress or pillows are old and worn down, you may sleep considerably better on higher quality products.

4. Eat well in the evening

A large, heavy meal for dinner (especially when eaten late) can make it difficult to fall asleep, as can going to bed hungry from not eating a nutritious dish. Aim to eat a balanced meal well before you go to bed, and avoid anything with caffeine that could keep you awake.

5. Stop the naps

One of the most tempting things to do when studying from home is to take a nap when you feel tired. Once you get into this habit, however, you may struggle to fall asleep at night. If you’re tempted to sleep during the day, try some light exercise, drinking water, or giving your brain a break to keep you awake and focused.

Posted in Inspiration and motivation, Study From Home Tips |

Could these habits be killing your productivity?

Posted on 11/05/2016 by
Being productive is what will get you through your assignments when studying from home, so it's important to be aware of things that kill your focus.

Being productive is what will get you through your assignments when studying from home, so it’s important to be aware of things that kill your focus.

When it comes to studying from home, productivity is the one thing that will get all your tasks completed on time – that, and caffeine!

That’s why it’s important to always be aware of things that can kill your productivity. Many of us have ‘productivity killers’ in common – here are a few of them and what you can do to stop them from stopping you.

Trying to do too much

Everyone knows a to-do list is a great way to move through your workload, so it’s a good feeling when you write one and see all the things you’re going to tick off. For that reason, it’s tempting to write a to-do list that has far, far too much on it. However this can actually have a negative impact on your productivity. Instead of feeling motivated to do the work, you might feel overwhelmed or exhausted. The trick is to push yourself to work hard, but still be realistic. You will need to allow time for breaks, meals, and one or two distractions.

Working on X, Y and Z

You know you have a lot to do, so won’t it save time to do it all at once? Perhaps you cook yourself lunch while reading over important notes and coming up with new ideas for a project on the side? Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking isn’t great for your brain. By tackling multiple tasks at once, your brain will switch from one to the other, which means you won’t be focusing on any one of them in the way you should (cue a burnt lunch, forgotten notes and lacklustre ideas). Do one after the other to give each task your full attention – it will take a little longer, but the results will be much stronger.

Only aiming for perfection

Aiming for perfection is an honorable goal, but you need to keep in mind that the effort is not always worth the time, as it can mean that your other projects suffer. Naturally, you should still aim for high-quality work, but once you’re satisfied that you’ve done a good job, move on to the next task so you can do a good job on that too rather than rushing it. Save striving for perfection for when you have the time to invest everything you’ve got into a single task. It’s better to consistently pass all of your assignments than do fabulously on one and fail the other.

What kills your productivity? Do you have any tips or tricks that help you stay focused? Share in the comments below.

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Posture check! Is your study space set up correctly?

Posted on 27/04/2016 by
This desk may look gorgeous, but it's probably very supportive for your back, arms or wrists. Read on to find out what you need to ensure you stay comfortable throughout the day.

This desk may look gorgeous, but it’s probably not very supportive for your back, arms or wrists. Read on to find out how to set up a safe and comfortable study space.

Do you ever get to the end of a long study day at home and realise that your back has been aching for hours? How about your shoulders, neck, or wrists? When it gets bad, these pains could be you experiencing RSI (repetitive strain injury), and they are caused by an improper set up at your desk.

It’s almost impossible to simply stumble upon the perfect sitting position for an ergonomic work station at home – you really have to set it up purposefully to get it in the best position for your body.

The chair

Your chair is an important part of your set up. If you don’t already, invest in one that has an adjustable height and back, and has a comfortable (cushioned) seat. Ideally, it should also have arm rests.

The back should be set up quite straight, as if it leans back, you will likely end up slouching at your desk. A chair with lumbar support (or a cheap add-on support) will also help you sit in a way that’s good for your back by pushing your lower spine away from the chair.

The height of the chair should be so that your feet sit flat on the ground, but if you don’t have an adjustable seat and you’re sitting too high with your feet off the ground, put a box or phonebook under them for a makeshift footrest. Likewise, if you are too low, add a cushion to the seat to lift you up.

The desk

Your desk should be arranged so that when you pull your chair in front, sit down and stare straight ahead, the screen is directly in front of you.

If your monitor is too low and you don’t have an adjustable desk, you may consider putting something under the screen so you’re not bending your neck to look down at it. If your monitor is too high, you may need to adjust your chair to be a little higher and add a footrest.

The keyboard

Most keyboards are asymmetrical because of the number pads on the right, but for a good set up, the alphabet should be directly in front of your hands. Rather than placing the whole board right in the middle in front of you, look at the ‘B’ key and put it in front of your nose to ensure the letters are where they should be.

And of course, just doing all of the above isn’t necessarily enough – it helps if you mentally remind yourself to sit up straight and keep your feet flat on the ground!

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How to set up a distraction-free study space

Posted on 20/04/2016 by
Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You'll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions - read on for some tips.

Are you someone who gets distracted easily? You’ll probably learn better if you strip your study space of any unnecessary distractions – read on for some tips.

Distraction: “Something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention.”

Distractions are easily one of the toughest parts of studying from home. Whether it’s your kids, your pets, a sunny day outside, a new game on your phone, or even a pile of laundry that needs sorting, distractions will get in the way of your study and can slow you down significantly.

So how can you avoid them? Start by setting up a study space that’s as distraction-free as possible with these simple tips.

Remove your phone

We’re all guilty of idly picking up our mobile phones to see what’s happening on Facebook or in the news. When it’s sitting right in front of you, it’s hard not to.

So remove it.

It’s unrealistic to suggest to turn it off completely, so leave it on loud in case someone tries to get in touch with you, but place it on the other side of the room where it’s out of sight, and out of reach.

Make your decorations boring

Nobody wants to sit at an ugly study space all day, so many people decorate it with photos of loved ones, fun calendars and other cool items. As great as they are, they will ultimately distract you as you stare at them.

Keep some decorations, but make them simple things you won’t stare at – such as a pot plant or set of fairy lights.

Move your desk

Where does your desk currently face? Out the window and into a garden or over a nice view might sound blissful, but it quickly becomes a distraction when study becomes tough.

The trick is to keep the natural light but avoid facing directly outside, as this can help you focus on what’s in front of you on the screen, rather than what’s in front of you out the window. Save those scenic views for your breaks!

Store snacks at your study space

When study becomes a slog, the kitchen can suddenly start looking like a beacon of light. You’ll find yourself opening the fridge and cupboards looking for snacks and ultimately wasting time.

Start each day with healthy snacks and plenty of water at your study space so you don’t have an excuse to leave and look for something to eat.

Warn others

Flatmates, family members, and children can all be effective distractions from your studies. While some things are important, and some kids won’t understand why they can’t talk to mummy or daddy, make it as clear as possible to others that you need time to focus.

Setting up a routine will help those in your household to let you have your alone time for study. One idea is to let them know when you are planning to take breaks so they can talk to you then.

What’s your biggest distraction when studying from home, and how do you manage it?

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5 signs you’re studying too hard

Posted on 13/04/2016 by
Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

Studying too hard can be just as bad as studying too little. Here are five signs you might be overdoing it (+ how to avoid burnout).

When you study online via distance learning, it can be all too easy for your study to take over if you don’t set some study-life boundaries.

While keeping busy with study is a fantastic way to learn and grow, it’s important that you’re not overdoing it. Here are five signs that you might be studying too hard and need to find a way to cut back!

1. You’re not sleeping well

Sleep is a vital component in everyday life – from health to happiness and energy. Unfortunately, when you study too hard you can become stressed and anxious, and by the time you go to bed, you can’t get to sleep because it’s still all churning through your mind.

Stress about your study might also lead you to wake up throughout the night, or wake up earlier than you need to in the morning. It may help to write a to-do list before bed so that you can get those thoughts down on paper for the next day, rather than letting them circle around all night and keep you awake.

2. You don’t have much to show for your study

As much as this one doesn’t sound like it makes sense, it’s actually a common indicator that you’re studying too hard. If you get to the end of the day and can’t really say what you managed to achieve, it’s possible that your brain was too tired and unfocussed to actually achieve much at all.

It takes focus to get a lot done, and you can’t focus 24/7 no matter how hard you try. Make sure you’re taking regular study breaks to give your mind some reprieve from its workload so that you’re refreshed for the next task.

3. Your friends are giving up on you

Did you turn down that coffee date or miss out on that movie you wanted to see with friends because you were too busy studying? Your mates are probably almost as tired of your study schedule as you are.

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks to see your friends and family. Study is important, but you should never have to miss out on seeing the ones you love.

4. You procrastinate more

Procrastination is a normal human behaviour that you shouldn’t worry about too much. However, if you’re getting to the point where your day is more procrastination than study, it’s a good sign that you’ve already burnt out and simply can’t face getting anything done.

Rather than feel guilty about procrastinating, plan time out so you can do other things, then return to your study ready to get started – without checking all your social media accounts first.

5. Your health is suffering

This is a serious one – if you’re eating poorly, missing out on regular exercise, or simply spending too much time sitting still, you won’t be doing your body any favours.

As it’s all too easy to find an excuse to skip the gym or order takeaways instead of cooking a nutritious meal, health is one of the first things to go out the window when study comes a-knocking. If it goes on too long, it can adversely affect your studies and leave you feeling listless and tired.

Look for ways you can fit exercise and nutrition into your days to maintain good health and put yourself first.

Do any of these signs apply to you? Share your ideas for reducing your stress and workload in the comments below.

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How to make studying from home fun

Posted on 06/04/2016 by
Struggling to find the motivation to study from home? See our three tips below to help find the fun in learning.

Struggling to find the motivation to study from home? Read our three tips to help find the fun in learning.

We share a lot of study tips on this blog. From the best snacks to eat to stay focused, to how to study in summer when the beach is calling your name, we’re dedicated to helping you ace your travel and tourism assignments.

But all of our tips might be worthless if you don’t find any enjoyment in studying. Sure, there’s no avoiding some tedious tasks, but there are ways you can learn to love learning – you just need to think outside of the box.

Here are three tips to help make studying from home fun, so that it becomes less of a chore and more of a passion.

use colour to make study fun

1. Invest in fun stationery

Studying is the perfect excuse to buy cute stationery (as if you needed another one!). Swap boring plain lined paper for a sketch pad, journal or even a whiteboard – whatever works for you. Also, try to use plenty of colour. Think bright felt tip pens and post-it notes. The aim of this is to help get your creative juices flowing. Not only will this make studying more fun, it’ll also encourage you to think creatively about what you’re learning.

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2. Find real-world examples

Many people find study boring because they can’t connect what they’re learning on paper to what happens in the real world. Where possible, look for ways to experience what you’re learning first-hand. For example, if you are learning about what it’s like to work at the airport, why not visit your nearest airport for lunch and observe your surroundings? Or if you are learning about customer service, see if you can do some work experience at a local tourism operator.

the aural learner

3. Create a study playlist

Some people find music distracting when studying – if this is you, move right along to the next tip. But if you love bopping along to the beat while you learn, turn up the tunes and enjoy! Create a new study playlist every week as motivation to hit the books. Songs without words are best as they aren’t so distracting, but listen to whatever works for you.

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Five study break ideas to boost your concentration

Posted on 30/03/2016 by
One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you're studying is by taking a quick break to exercise and stretch.

One of the best ways to recharge your mind when you’re studying is by taking a quick break to exercise.

As counter intuitive as this may sound, one of the best study tips we can give you is this: take regular breaks. Many studies have shown that the human mind can only concentrate for short blocks at a time and requires a ‘pause’ approximately every 45 minutes.

Studying for hours and hours on end, without taking breaks, may actually negatively impact your ability to retain key information. For better results, aim to step away from your notes and recharge your batteries at least once every two hours.

Before you get too excited and turn on the television, ‘recharge your batteries’ doesn’t mean binge-watching your favourite television programme. Ideally, study breaks shouldn’t last any longer than 30 minutes and should be something which relaxes and clears your mind, and reenergises you to tackle your next assignment.

Unsure what constitutes a ‘healthy’ study break? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below are five study break ideas which are guaranteed to boost your concentrate levels.

1. Exercise

The best thing you can do for your brain is get your blood pumping. Go for a walk around the block, hit the gym, do some weights in your lounge – whatever you do, aim to get out of your computer chair and increase your heart rate. If possible, exercise outdoors – the fresh air will do you good!

2. Meditation

Studying can be stressful and overwhelming. If you begin to feel anxious, take some time away from your desk to practice meditation. Never meditated before? Don’t worry, there are several free smartphone apps which can guide you through the process. Download one today to be one step closer to relaxation.

3. Nap

As indulgent as it may feel to take a nap in the middle of the day, this is often exactly what your brain needs. Just remember a nap is about 20 to 30 minutes maximum, so remember to set an alarm. If you sleep any longer than this, you will likely feel worse.

4. Colouring In

There’s a reason adult colouring in books are flying off the shelves – this arty activity is incredibly relaxing and brings out your creative side. Many people view this as a form of meditation, as the act of colouring allows your mind to freely wander and break free from anxious thoughts. Grab your colouring pens and give it a try.

5. Clean

Feel like you have ants in your pants and can’t concentrate on your study? Put on some gloves and give your home a spring clean! The simple act of doing dishes or vacuuming can help to relax your mind and give your body a much-needed break from the computer chair. Plus you’ll get to enjoy a sparkling clean house!

How do you enjoy your study breaks? Share your favourite break ideas in the comments below.

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What is your learning style?

Posted on 23/03/2016 by
Take your study sessions to the next level by finding out what type of learning style suits you best.

Take your study sessions to the next level by finding out what type of learning style suits you best.

We all have different ways of learning. Some people are visual learners and respond to bright pictures and flowcharts. Others need to study by themselves in peace and quiet before they can fully absorb information.

These are just a few examples – there are so many styles out there! Which learning style do you most identify with? Read on to find out, and for tips on how to make your learning style work for you.

The visual learner

Visual learning style

You learn best when looking at bright pictures, photos, videos and other visual media. You’re happiest when doodling ideas on a big piece of paper with coloured pens, or scribbling on the whiteboard.

Study From Home tip: invest in a vision board and decorate it with drawings, flowcharts and other visual aids to help stimulate learning. Surround yourself with colour!

The verbal learner (aka the writer)

verbal learner

Words are your friend. Whether they are written or spoken, you learn best when given detailed explanations. You’re very articulate, love language and adore reading.

Study From Home tip: Always keep a journal close by. You never know when you’re going to need to work out an idea on paper!

The doer

Physical learning style

Not one to sit on the sidelines, you like to get amongst the action. You prefer to be hands-on and you absorb information when physically doing whatever you’re trying to learn, for example through role play.

Study From Home tip: Look for ways to apply your travel and tourism study to real life, through volunteering for work experience or visiting popular tourism hot spots in your town.

The listener

the aural learner

You make a great student in the classroom, as you learn best when absorbing sound or music. To remember tricky information, try making up your own rap, song or rhyme.

Study From Home tip: Listen to music in the background as you study, or record your notes and play them back to yourself.

The social learner

Startup Stock Photos

A great team player, you work best in a group environment and love studying when surrounded by other people. You also love a lively discussion!

Study From Home tip: Get out of the house. Take your study gear to a crowded cafe to boost your energy levels. Or, if possible, create your own study group with other people in your area.

The solitary learner

the solitary learner

You like quiet, clutter-free spaces where you can process information in your own time, at your own pace. You’re highly organised, self-motivated and enjoy setting goals.

Study From Home tip: You are perfectly suited to studying from the peace and quiet of your own home (providing your home is quiet, that is!). Set up a tidy, private study space and let flatmates or family members know not to interrupt.

The logical learner

the logical learner

You have a very ‘mathematical’ brain and tend to approach problems in a very systematical way. You learn best when following a highly organised (and logical!) structure, which makes you great at prioritising and time management.

Study From Home tip: Write a to-do list and the beginning of each day and systematically check off each task as you move through them – this will help you feel in control.

What is your learning style? Share in the comments below!

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10 healthy study snacks to help you stay focused

Posted on 16/03/2016 by
The best study snacks are light and nutritious, providing you with plenty of energy to hit the books.

The best study snacks are light and nutritious, providing you with plenty of energy to hit the books.

For many people, one of the hardest things about studying from home is resisting the call of the kitchen. Do you ever find yourself snacking out of boredom, procrastination or habit? I don’t know about you, but every time I have to learn a difficult topic, I somehow find myself peering into the fridge instead.

Or maybe you have the opposite problem. Perhaps you get so absorbed in your studies that you forget to eat proper meals and end up snacking on whatever’s easiest to prepare – lollies, potato chips, two-minute noodles. This can negatively impact your study, as you won’t be providing the brain with enough fuel to absorb new information.

What you eat throughout the day can have a huge impact on your overall energy levels and your ability to concentrate on studying. To help you make better food decisions (and avoid running to the kitchen every few minutes out of boredom), here’s a list of 10 healthy snack ideas. Give these a try and see how you feel.

1. Carrot sticks and hummus

Fresh, fast and easy to prepare – not to mention delicious – this is a healthy filling snack that will keep ‘hanger’ away.

2. Fruit

An obvious yet underrated choice. Fruit requires minimal preparation and is the perfect thing to eat on-the-go.

3. Nuts

A handful of almonds, cashews or peanuts can be just enough to tide you over between meals. Just watch your portion sizes, as nuts have a high fat content.

4. Yoghurt

Packed with protein, a pot of natural yoghurt is the ideal thing to keep in the fridge for morning or afternoon tea.

5. Brown rice crackers

A healthy alternative to potato chips, these crackers are best enjoyed with sliced tomato or avocado.

6. Popcorn

Believe it or not, without oodles of butter and salt, popcorn is actually a light, healthy snack. Keep a bowl of popped goodness on hand for days when you’re feeling particularly peckish.

7. Muesli bars

Store-bought muesli bars are often full of sugar (you might as well just eat chocolate), but we can’t deny that they are very convenient. Look for low sugar options at the supermarket, or, if you’re feeling really inspired, make your own!

8. Cheese

A few slices of cheese can do much to satiate cravings for fatty foods such as hot chips. Spread a little peanut butter on a slice of cheese for a taste sensation!

9. Milky coffee

Although technically not food, a milky coffee can be filling, not to mention energising. Try this next time you are feeling tired mid-afternoon.

10. Dark chocolate

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to be healthy, chocolate is the only snack that will do. If you are a self-confessed chocoholic, choose brands that have at least 70% cocoa content. And remember – portion control!

Do you have any go-to study snacks to help you stay focused at home? Share your favourites in the comments below.

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5 apps to help you study

Posted on 09/03/2016 by
Technology can be a massive distraction... but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Technology can be a massive distraction… but it can also be a huge help! Read on for five great apps to help you study.

Study can be a challenge in a digital world that’s full of online distractions. Between updating Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, it’s a wonder we find the time to do anything else!

In all seriousness, social media can really undermine your ability to study from home if you don’t find ways to manage the addiction (yes, addiction!). When was the last time you went for an hour without checking your phone? It can be tough to concentrate on bookwork when all you want to do is send funny cat photos to your friend (trust me, I’ve been there).

The good news is, technology is not all bad. There are actually some great apps that can help you study. We’ve rounded up our five favourites below.

1.StayFocusd

Do you find yourself refreshing Facebook every five minutes, not because you want to, but out of habit? This app will make this a thing of the past. A Google Chrome extension, StayFocusd can temporarily block time-wasting websites of your choice. Next time you know you need to focus for a day simply use this app to block Facebook, and watch your productivity soar!

2.Trello

Used by businesses, individuals and of course students, Trello is essentially a fancy time-management ‘to-do-list’ app. It allows you to create a ‘card’ for each task and arrange them in order of priority. You can even invite other people to view your Trello boards, perfect for when you have a group assignment. If you love being organised, you’ll love Trello, which describes itself as “the easy, free, flexible, and visual way to manage your projects and organize anything”.

3.Flashcards

This iOS app – Flashcards by Brainscape – allows you to create your own digital flashcards; perfect for prepping for a test or trying to memorise important facts. It’s free (or a few dollars without advertisements) and works across all iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, etc).

4. Dragon Dictation

If you find it really hard to ‘think on paper’ and come up with better ideas when talking out loud, the use Dragon Dictation to prepare for assignments. This app will record your voice, so you can play your thoughts back when it comes time to actually write your essay or prep for your test. It’s a good way to make sure you capture all of your ideas without having to take physical notes.

5. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can)

This app is quite possibly one of the most annoying apps ever invented, but it is perfect for those of you who are prone to sleeping in late. Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) is very clever; the only way you can turn the alarm off is by taking a photo of a ‘registered object’. For example, you might register a photo of your kitchen sink or your front door – this means that in order to turn your alarm off in the morning, you have to physically get up and take a picture. Sleep if you can!

Do you use any great study apps? Tell us your favourites in the comments below.

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How to study in summer when the beach is calling your name

Posted on 17/02/2016 by
Trying to study but all you can think about is the beach? See our tips below for how to stay focused on beautiful summer days.

Trying to study but all you can think about is the beach? See our tips below for how to stay focused on beautiful summer days.

Studying from home during the warm summer months can be tough. Beautiful blue sky days probably have you dreaming about the beach. It can be tempting to ignore your assignments, pack a picnic and head to the water for a day of sunbathing and swimming.

While trading study for the beach sounds amazing (let’s be honest – we’d all rather be on holiday all summer!), we’re here to help you stay motivated. Here’s how to stay focused during summer, no matter how loudly the beach is calling your name.

Take your books outside

Staying inside on a beautiful day often feels plain wrong – as if you are wasting perfectly good weather. There’s only one way to beat this: take your study stuff outside. Do some reading in your garden, at a nearby park or even outside at a local café. Just be sure to wear sunscreen and sit in the shade where possible. While we wouldn’t recommend studying outside all day, every day, a few hours in the fresh air will help you stay focused and give your soul a much needed dose of nature.

Study in the mornings and evenings

Here’s a genius idea: if you start studying at dawn and study for a few hours after dinner, then you could spend the middle of the day at the beach! This plan only works if you’re disciplined and stick to your new schedule (we’re talking 5am wake-up calls). But, if you think you could totally squeeze in study around your beach outing, then by all means – give it a whirl. There’s nothing nicer than having the beach all to yourself while everyone else is in class or at work.

Buy a fan or study at an air conditioned library

One of the hardest parts about studying from home in summer is staying cool – literally. Unlike classrooms, most homes don’t come with air conditioning. If your house resembles an oven, it’s a good idea to invest in a fan. This will do wonders for your energy levels! Another good idea is to study at the library. These quiet, air conditioned spaces will help you stay focused even on the hottest of days.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables

Including a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet is important all year round, but it’s especially helpful when you’re trying to stay focused in the summer heat. Nothing will put you to sleep faster than a carb-heavy hot meal! Instead of digging into porridge for breakfast and pasta for lunch, try to eat lighter meals such as smoothies and salads. Veggie-packed meals will leave you feeling healthy and energised.

Make the most of your time off

Everyone needs a break every now and then. Next time you have a few hours to yourself, don’t waste them inside watching reruns of Friends. Instead, head straight to the beach to get your fix. Summer is often over before we know it, so be sure to make the most of every bit of downtime you have.

Happy studying!

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Five reasons why it’s never too late to start studying

Posted on 10/02/2016 by
Don't let time pass you by. It's never too late to start studying towards your dream career.

Don’t let time pass you by. It’s never too late to start studying towards your dream career.

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” – Paulo Coelho

Today, many young people are encouraged to pursue higher education once they finish secondary school – but this wasn’t always the case. Earlier generations often embarked on a different path in life, such as going straight into the workforce or having children. They may have sacrificed studying in order to follow a different dream.

If this sounds like you, you may sometimes find yourself wondering what life would have been like if you had chosen to study your passion. Well, maybe it’s time to stop wondering and give further education a try. Thanks to distance learning, it’s now easier than ever to make studying part of your life.

Here are five reasons why it’s never too late to start studying.

1. Life experience will make you a better student

Some mature students worry they won’t be able to keep up with their younger counterparts. In fact, the opposite is often true! Your life experience will likely give you an edge over other students. You’ll be able to bring real-world experience to the table, and may even act as a mentor or role model.

2. You might have more financial stability

Those who start studying later in life can often afford to pay for some of their courses upfront, hereby reducing financial pressure. Although pursuing a new career path is always daunting, you’ll have peace of mind that you have other experience and jobs to fall back on if needed.

3. There are many flexible study options available

Education has adapted to the digital world, meaning you can now study many courses from home, in your own time, at your own pace! This provides you with the freedom to juggle several commitments, such as part-time work and childcare. Study From Home graduate Rebekah Linton has some great tips for balancing work and study.

4. You’ll be a role model for your children

If you have children, you might be worried that returning to study will leave them feeling neglected. In reality, they will probably admire your motivation. You’ll lead by example and show them it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Who knows, you might even inspire them to study too! This happened to one Study From Home graduate; mum Robyn Hicks studied travel and tourism and now both of her daughters are following in her footsteps.

5. Personal fulfilment will make you happier

There’s nothing quite as wonderful as the sense of achievement you feel when you graduate. Studying is not easy; it takes a lot of hard work and commitment. But the light at the end of the tunnel is increased personal fulfilment and overall happiness. You’ll never regret taking steps to follow your dreams.

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Earn while you study: part-time job ideas for distance learning students

Posted on 27/01/2016 by
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A part-time job can provide you with valuable experience and some extra cash while you study. Even better if it’s within biking distance of your home!

Would you like to earn some money while you study? Getting a part-time job can be an excellent way to boost your bank account and gain some valuable work experience.

As long as your job doesn’t interfere with your studies (achieving your travel and tourism qualification should always come first), working is a great opportunity to meet new friends, improve your self-confidence and add some skills to your CV.

Below are some job ideas that could fit perfectly with your distance learning lifestyle.

CASUAL JOB IDEAS FOR STUDENTS

Although it can be irregular, casual work suits many students because it’s so flexible – you can often make it fit around your studies, and reduce the number of hours you work when you’ve got large assignments.

Mystery shopper

As a mystery shopper, it’s your job to pose as a regular customer in a store and then rate your experience afterwards. You’ll provide detailed feedback about your shopping experience, which the company can then use to improve customer service moving forward. There are several mystery shopping businesses in New Zealand – a quick Google search will bring up several possibilities.

Babysitting

If you’re responsible, reliable and great with kids then you could find work as a babysitter in your local community. Babysitting hours often fall in the evening or on weekends, freeing up plenty of time for you to study throughout the week. You can also get some study done when the kids go to bed.

Dog walking

Many dog owners lead busy lifestyles and don’t have time to walk their pups. You could make their lives easier by offering to walk and play with their dogs a few times a week. This is a great way to keep fit, get outside and make some furry friends!

Gardening and DIY

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty and consider yourself a bit of a DIYer, you might find some casual gardening or household work with friends or family. From mowing lawns to helping out in the garden, there’s endless opportunities to lend a hand.

PART-TIME JOB IDEAS FOR STUDENTS

Having set hours each week can make managing your finances much easier, especially if you have to pay rent and make regular bill payments. Here are some part-time jobs that suit students.

Office assistant

If you have great admin skills, a warm personality and a motivation to learn, you could make a great office assistant for a local company. It would be best if you could work in a travel or tourism business, as this would be a chance to learn the ropes and get involved in the industry. Perhaps you could drop your CV into local companies and offer to come in for a few days of work experience to see how you go.

Retail work

Love shopping? Great with people? You could work part-time as a retail assistant in a clothes store, gift shop or alike. These jobs will teach you how to deliver excellent customer service, as well as important cash-handling and stock management skills – all valuable experience for the tourism industry.

Supermarket assistant

Working at your local supermarket is a good introduction to the world of customer service, plus you could get to know some of your community. This is a great place to start if you don’t have any work experience and are looking to build up your CV.

Café assistant

The hospitality and tourism sector are closely linked. If you love the buzz of working in a cafe, chances are you’ll love the fast-paced tourism industry. Gaining some experience in a restaurant, hotel or food chain will likely help you get a foot in the door in a travel or tourism role once you’ve graduated.

Do you have a part-time job?

Are you juggling part-time work and part-time study? Do you have any advice to share with our community? Comment below with your experience!

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Post-holiday blues? Three ways to re-find your motivation to study

Posted on 20/01/2016 by
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Does returning to study have you feeling a bit like this? Read on for some strategies for beating the back-to-study blues.

Finding it hard to get back into the swing of study after a relaxing Christmas and New Year break? We feel your pain. Saying goodbye to sleep-ins, lazy days at the beach and uninterrupted family time can be tough!

Unfortunately returning to work and study is inevitable for most people (unless you’ve somehow managed to find the secret to being on holiday all the time – if that’s you, please share!). The good news is – we’re all in this together. And there’s plenty to be positive about, if only you have the right attitude.

Here’s three tried and tested tips to refocus on study and re-find your motivation to succeed.

1. Create a new study schedule

It’s amazing how quickly we fall out of study habits when we’re on holiday. One week you’re waking up at the same time every day and in a really great study routine, the next you’re sleeping in until noon.

A good way to get back into routine is to start fresh. Write a new study schedule (even if it’s exactly the same as your old one). It’s the process of writing it that’s important – it will refocus your mind on your priorities, and it’s much easier than launching straight into study on day one. In other words, start small and you’ll get there.

2. Add a little bit of fun to your everyday life

Getting back into study is hard because we think we have to be studious 24-7 to get good results. While it is important to put in the work, it’s equally important to treat yourself on a regular basis.

If you find a way to add some fun into your everyday routine, you’ll be more likely to stick to it. We’re not saying ditch your notes and head to the beach; instead, set small goals and reward yourself with something you love doing at the end of each study session.

3. Plan your next holiday

One of the main reasons we get depressed after a holiday comes to an end is because it feels like it will be YEARS before we’ll get a chance to go on another one. So why not start planning for your next adventure now?

It may be months before you can get away, but planning is a good cure for wanderlust. It will also motivate you to work harder and save more money – a win-win situation.

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The best of the internet’s New Year’s Resolutions articles for 2016

Posted on 13/01/2016 by
Grab your journal and some coloured pens - it's time to start jotting down strategies for sticking to your 2016 study goals!

Grab your journal and some coloured pens – it’s time to start jotting down strategies for sticking to your 2016 study goals!

In January every year, newspapers, magazines and social media feeds are filled with tips for sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions. What really works? What will set you up to fail? What are the best strategies for staying on track?

One can quickly feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of articles on the topic – it can be hard to know where to start! So we’ve lent a helping hand. We’ve narrowed down some of the best articles (in our opinion) for 2016. Here at Study From Home, we’re big believers in the power of goal setting. We hope this collection of articles gives you some inspiration to get your 2016 resolutions off to a successful start.

+ 12 tips to ensure you actually achieve your 2016 goals via The Entourage

This informative article includes 12 excellent pieces of advice from leading executives within the Entourage, an Australian business dedicated to educating and empowering entrepreneurs.

Excerpt: “When you start actioning your goals the key thing is to just START. The first step is always the hardest, but once you have taken the first step in the right direction, every step after gets a little easier.”

+ How to keep your New Year’s Resolutions via Huffington Post For Women

Here’s some no-nonsense, straight-talking advice to help get you started. Work through the three steps outlined in this article and you’re on your way to success.

Excerpt: “In order to make lasting change, there must be some passion and true desire to do the work. It’s not enough to want the result. You must want the result so badly that you’re willing to make it a top priority this year.”

+ Determined to keep your 2016 New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s how. via Gretchen Rubin

As bestselling author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin is more qualified than most to offer great advice for sticking to your goals. This inspirational LinkedIn piece will get you motivated to achieve all your goals and more!

Excerpt: “Treat yourself! This is the most fun way to strengthen your resolutions. When we give ourselves healthy treats, we boost our self-command – which helps us keep our resolutions. When we give more to ourselves, we can ask more from ourselves.”

What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2016? Do you have some tried and tested strategies for success? Share in the comments below – we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Three reasons to study airline, travel or tourism in 2016

Posted on 06/01/2016 by
The airline, travel and tourism industry is set to grow exponentially in 2016, making it an excellent career choice for motivated students.

The airline, travel and tourism industry is set to grow exponentially in 2016, making it an excellent career choice for motivated students.

Happy New Year from the team at ITC Study From Home! We’re very excited to see what’s in store for 2016. With the tourism industry poised for major growth, we’re looking forward to training more passionate and motivated individuals who want to pursue this exciting career choice.

We think the reasons for studying something as fun as airline, travel or tourism are pretty self-explanatory. But if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to give this study path a try, here are some facts that might convince you.

1. A career in tourism is fun and rewarding

Imagine getting to bungy jump all the time and call it work. Or fly to exotic places. Or show travellers around New Zealand. Whether you work as a bungy jump assistant, flight attendant or tour guide, a career in the tourism industry promises to be full of fun. After all, the industry is centred around helping people have great holidays – what’s not to love about that?

2. The tourism industry is booming

Almost every time the tourism industry is in the news, it’s to highlight how well it’s doing. This industry is expected to see a lot of growth over the coming years as more people discover the beauty of New Zealand. This is great news for tourism students as it means there’s more jobs available upon graduation.

3. A qualification from ITC Study From Home could really take you places

If you dream of one day travelling the world, ITC could help you achieve this goal. Some of our graduates go on to work as international flight attendants or travel agents – both jobs which allow them to visit new places on a regular basis.

Of course getting your dream job won’t happen overnight, but your journey to success will start with enrolling in the appropriate airline, travel or tourism qualification. We offer four great qualifications via distance learning, so no matter where you live in New Zealand, we can help you further your education. To learn more about how we can help you make 2016 a year to remember, please get in touch today.

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How to succeed at studying from home

Posted on 16/12/2015 by
One of the best ways to ensure study from home success is by creating a weekly or monthly study schedule - and sticking to it!

One of the best ways to ensure study from home success is by creating a weekly or monthly study schedule – and sticking to it!

Nine times out of ten, studying from home feels like a dream. You can revise your notes in your favourite comfy pants, sit outside in the sunshine and drink as many cups of coffee as you want. And my personal favourite? When it’s raining you don’t have to face the elements – you can stay huddled under a blanket with your course books.

But sometimes having the freedom to study whenever you want can work against you. Ever found yourself sitting down to study only to start watching TV or browsing social media? One of the hardest things about studying from home is staying motivated and resisting the temptation of procrastination.

Fortunately over the years we’ve come across some excellent strategies for study from home success. If you’re feeling behind in your course work or worried distance learning isn’t for you, please have a read of these tips – you might be surprised at how one little change in your study habits can make such a difference.

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Is it time to give your resume a makeover?

Posted on 02/12/2015 by
If you'd like to apply for tourism jobs over the summer it's a good idea to update your CV.

If you’d like to apply for tourism jobs over the summer it’s a good idea to update your CV.

As the busy summer tourism season gets underway, now might be a good time to make sure your resume is up-to-date. It can be all too easy to let your CV gather dust when you’re focused on studying, but reviewing it every few months will ensure you’re ready to put your best foot forward when the perfect job opportunity arises.

So why not do your future self a favour and make some time to polish your CV before Christmas? Below are a few things to keep in mind when you’re updating this important document.

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Three ways to study smarter, not harder

Posted on 18/11/2015 by
Do you often find yourself daydreaming about where you'd rather be when you're meant to be studying? Although fun, this can actually cause you to study for twice as long as you need to!

Do you find it hard to stay focused and motivated when studying? See below for tips on how to improve your study techniques and get better results.

Do you have a limited amount of time to study each day? If so, this post is for you. We understand that not everyone has eight hours a day to spend memorising their notes. This is why we encourage our students to ‘study smarter, not harder’.

So what does this mean, exactly? Smart study is all about making the most of the time you have available to you – whether it’s 30 minutes or two hours. Here are three ways you can maximise your study productivity so that not a second is wasted. You’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve within a short amount of time if you really focus!

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Three ways to maintain a social life when you study from home

Posted on 04/11/2015 by
Meeting a friend for coffee is a great way to keep up your social life when studying from home.

Meeting a friend for coffee is a great way to keep up your social life when studying from home.

Distance learning is a great way to gain a qualification in airline, travel or tourism. It offers the flexibility to study in your own place, at your own pace, making it perfect for busy people juggling part-time jobs, children and other commitments.

That said, studying from home doesn’t come without its challenges. Although it’s great to be able to work on the couch in your slippers, some people miss the social interaction that comes with on-campus learning.

The good news is, there’s plenty of ways you can maintain a healthy social life and meet new friends – all it takes is a little motivation!

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Which Study From Home course is right for you?

Posted on 21/10/2015 by
Want to work in the airline, travel and tourism industry but not sure which course to pick? We're here to help - read on for information about our courses.

Choosing the right course is the first step to success. Read on to learn all about our different qualifications. 

Would you like an amazing career in airline, travel and tourism but feel unsure where to start? This is a large and exciting industry, so it’s important to carefully research your study options and choose a course that best aligns with your interests and career dreams.

We know this is a big decision, so we have put together a guide explaining the difference between our courses. Read on to find out which course is right for you!

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Study tips for busy parents

Posted on 14/10/2015 by
Studying with kids isn't easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

Studying with kids isn’t easy, but with the right support and techniques, it is definitely possible.

As anyone with children knows, being a parent is a full-time job in itself! Yet many of our students have kids and study part-time in between nappy changes, school runs and the odd tantrum. It’s not easy, but it is possible – and, with the right approach, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Every situation is different, but there are a few tried and tested techniques for juggling study and kids. We rounded up some of the best tips:

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Get a taste for the tourism industry with an ITC online short course

Posted on 07/10/2015 by
ITC Online Training is an affordable way to learn more about the tourism industry without committing to a full-time course.

ITC Online Training is an affordable way to learn more about the tourism industry without committing to a full-time course.

Choosing what to study is a big decision. How do you know which industry is right for you? What if you’re torn between multiple subjects? If only there was a way to help you make up your mind…

Introducing ITC Online Training: a range of short, interactive online courses that you can take from home, at your own leisure.

These courses are the perfect opportunity to get a taste for the tourism industry without committing to full-time study.

Even better, there are courses to suit all budgets. ITC Online offers FREE taster courses and several introductory lessons for as little as $19. The most expensive online course is less than $250 – an affordable alternative to a six-month qualification.

Here are some of the topics you can learn more about with ITC Online Training:

 
ITC launched these courses as a way to make education about the airline, travel and tourism industry more widely available to people all around New Zealand and the world.

“You can sign up for a short course from anywhere – so long as you have access to the internet and a computer or tablet,” says ITC Marketing Director Claire Huxley.

“This means people are no longer limited by their location or circumstance – everyone has the opportunity to learn more about this exciting industry. With several free taster courses to choose from, as well as a range of options available for less than $250, this is an affordable way to advance your education.”

The full list of online courses is available on the ITC Online Training website. If you have any questions about our courses, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to hear from you.

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Study tips: three time management techniques for when stress hits

Posted on 16/09/2015 by
Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Feeling overwhelmed by the amount of study you need to do? We share some time management techniques to help you get back on track.

Sometimes stress can come out of nowhere. One day you’re feeling focused and in control, the next you feel overwhelmed by the mountain of work in front of you. When this happens, you have three choices:

  • Crawl back under the covers and pretend your to-do list doesn’t exist (aka – procrastinate).
  • Start working frantically, jumping from one task to the next, with barely a moment to stop and eat let alone check whether your work is up to standard (aka – take your stress levels and multiply them by 100).
  • Reassess your priorities (aka – get back in control)

 
Can you guess which approach we support?

When stress hits, the first thing you need to do is get organised and reassess your priorities. If you have a short amount of time to achieve a certain number of goals, then you need to figure out which tasks need to be done immediately, and which tasks can wait.

Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Here are three time management techniques that will help you become more productive and less stressed.
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Three things successful people do every morning

Posted on 12/08/2015 by
According to several studies, creating time

Setting yourself up for a successful day can be as simple as writing a few pages in a journal every morning.

Picture this: it’s 6am. Your alarm clock is ringing. You hit the snooze button. Is it really time to get up? You begin to feel stressed, thinking about everything you need to achieve today. You hit the snooze button again. By the time you finally get out of bed, you’re running late. You quickly shower, get dressed and eat breakfast as you rush out the door. The day flies by, and you can’t quite shake the feeling that you’re ‘behind’. Before you know it, you’re back in bed, ready to fall asleep and do it all over again tomorrow. You set your alarm for 6am…

Does this sound familiar?

Most of us lead incredibly busy, fast-paced lives, and as a result everything feels rushed – even waking up and eating breakfast! Do you sometimes get to the end of the day and feel as though you’ve barely had a moment to yourself? If yes, it might be time to change your morning routine.

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Strapped for cash? These three budgeting tips could save you money

Posted on 05/08/2015 by
The more money you save, the more you'll be able to spend in the future; it's a win-win situation!

The more money you save, the more you’ll be able to spend in the future; it’s a win-win situation!

Let’s be honest, student life is pretty sweet. Yes, there are exams and essays and deadlines, but most of the time you’re learning about something you love. There’s just one little thing that would make it better; more money!

One of the hardest things about being a student is managing your finances. It can be difficult to earn a regular income when you are studying, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible! Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to get into unnecessary debt, like these students who spent their course related costs on non-study items (this article is a great example of what not to do).

With a little bit of forward thinking and careful planning, you can save some money while you are studying. Feel like you need some help in this department? Here are three of our best budgeting tips.

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How to juggle work and study (and not go crazy!)

Posted on 15/07/2015 by
Feeling overwhelmed by all of the work you have to do? Read on for advice on how to manage study, work and your social life!

Feeling overwhelmed by all of the work you have to do? Read on for advice on how to manage study, work and your social life!

Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is quite the superstar. She is currently studying, working and preparing for her wedding next year. Her grades are outstanding and she is even ahead on some of her courses! We asked her to share some of her study secrets.

How do I do it?

This is quite often the question I get asked when people hear that I am studying long distance while still working full time. And the answer to this question comes in two easy parts – 1. Plan and 2. Get ahead!

How to plan for success

Planning is the key to being successful in studying while working. And it doesn’t take much, just sitting down for a few minutes and writing down a study calendar is a great place to start.

You have to be realistic though! Yes you work many hours a week, and plan to study 15 hours, but don’t forget about meal times, socializing, personal errands and of course SLEEP!  Just dot down all of your fixed hours each week, and slot in some hours for study.

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How to beat procrastination in three simple steps

Posted on 08/07/2015 by
Feel like you're constantly  telling yourself you need to get more done? Read on to find out how you can beat procrastination in three simple steps.

Feel like you’re constantly telling yourself you need to get more done? Read on to find out how you can beat procrastination in three simple steps.

It’s happened again. The clock has mysteriously jumped forward three hours and you’ve done  ‘nothing’. You sat down to study and before you knew it you’d wasted precious hours on Buzzfeed, YouTube and even just gazing out of the window.

Spongebob GIF

Procrastination. We all struggle with it from time to time, especially when it comes to studying. Do you regularly wonder where all the time goes? Do you find yourself racing to finish assignments mere hours before the deadline? Would you like to take back control over your study schedule and reduce stress?

If the answer is yes, then it’s time to put a plan into action to beat procrastination once and for all. Here’s how you can do this in three simple steps.

1. Find your WHY

The very first thing you should do, before you even pick up pen or turn on your computer, is remind yourself of WHY you decided to study. Often we get so bogged down in our daily to-do lists that we forget why we are doing everything in the first place.

why gif

Remember that feeling of elation, excitement and pride when you enrolled on your first course? You are doing this for you; for a better career, for a better life. Make a list of all the reasons why you are studying and hang them somewhere you’ll see them every day. Whenever you feel like giving up, read this list again and it will help you stay focused.

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Five minutes with Study From Home student Rebekah Linton

Posted on 11/06/2015 by
Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is studying towards becoming a travel agent. This is a picture of her from a recent trip to Disney World

Study From Home student Rebekah Linton is studying towards becoming a travel agent. This is a picture of her from a recent trip to Disney World

What is it like to Study From Home? We caught up with current student Rebekah Linton to find out how her distance learning experience is going.

What sparked your interest in travel and tourism?

Travelling has always been something I have loved to do, as I like visiting new places and learning about new cultures. I’m also a real foodie and love to try out local dishes of the places I visit.

Ever since I was young I was lucky enough to be able to do a fair bit of travelling with my family. I would often go on trips around NZ with my grandparents during the school holidays, and I would usually go on some sort of overseas destination with my parents once a year such as Australia or Vanuatu. I’ve also done Camp America for two years – I spent 3 months at a time working in a summer camp in Maine and Connecticut.

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The top three benefits of distance learning

Posted on 20/05/2015 by
One of the best things about distance learning is the ability to study from anywhere. Study from home one day, work in a cafe the next - the choice is yours.

One of the best things about distance learning is the ability to study from anywhere. Study from home one day, work in a cafe the next – the choice is yours.

What makes distance learning such a great choice? Here are the top three benefits of studying from home.

1. Flexibility

Don’t want to come to class every day? More of a night owl than a morning person? Wish you could just write your assignments at home in your pajamas? Distance learning offers this level of flexibility, allowing you to choose when you want to study, and where.

As long as you put in the required number of hours of study per week, you are free to manage your time as you see fit. And if that means working from the comfort of your couch next to your cat, who are we to judge?

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Five myths about distance learning (and why you should ignore them)

Posted on 29/04/2015 by
Sorry to disappoint, but there's more to distance learning than studying in your pajamas with your cat. We bust some common distance learning myths

Sorry to disappoint, but there’s more to distance learning than studying in your pajamas with your cat (although this is a great bonus!) Photo credit: Luke Redmond // Flickr Creative Commons

Thinking about studying from home? A quick Google search of ‘distance learning’ will provide you with plenty of information about this study option, but there may be a few myths lurking among the helpful advice.

We’re here to help clarify any confusion. Here are five common myths about distance learning (and why you should ignore them).

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Is studying from home right for you?

Posted on 26/02/2015 by
ITC's Study From Home option suits many people from different circumstances. Read on to find out if it could be an option for you

ITC’s Study From Home option suits many people from different circumstances. Read on to find out if it could be an option for you

Studying from home, otherwise known as online learning or distance learning, is an excellent option for people who want a great qualification but cannot attend regular on-campus classes.

At the International Travel College of New Zealand (ITC), we offer the option to study four excellent courses from home. That means you can gain an airline, travel and tourism qualification from anywhere in New Zealand!

Are you thinking about studying from home, but are unsure if this is the right decision for you?

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Getting career confidence back with ITC

Posted on 20/02/2014 by
Study From Home workshop

Study From Home students participate in a face-to-face workshop

Every year many students complete one of ITC’s distance online learning (DOL) courses for the travel, tourism and aviation industries. Gaining the confidence to get out and apply for jobs can be tough, so we make career preparation an important focus of the course.

More than half of our DOL students study from home because they are looking after young children. After a few years staying at home, many lose confidence in their employment prospects.

DOL graduate Lynda says, “I felt like I had had so much time off that I had become a recluse and didn’t know how to be in the public eye anymore or approach customers with confidence. I even thought I would forget everything I had learnt in previous employment.”

Another graduate Margaret adds: “I didn’t apply for a job for months after completing my course, as I thought they would decline my application as I had not been in the work force for so long.”

Many parents want to take care of their child at home. But DOL graduate Hazel found that getting out there had a positive impact on both her and her child. “Getting a job meant I could earn much more money to support myself and my child, while also gaining a social life outside of our house. I think many single mothers don’t want to send their child to childcare so soon. It seems hard at first but you and your child will adapt,” she says.

Lynda says that the ITC course helped her a great deal. “Training with ITC contributed a lot to gaining my confidence back. Having the phone assessments and orientation, and even graduation, and being amongst other people was a boost. With anticipation I wanted to get back into the work force and show off some recapped skills,” she says.

Lynda is also an advocate of gaining work experience while you study and says that having a part-time, casual job gave her a big confidence boost.

Margaret found that getting out there and applying for jobs was a useful learning experience in itself. “I wasn’t successful in my first application. I didn’t let that get me down: I used it as a learning curve. I took out my ITC notes on career preparation to make sure I was ready. For my next application, I knew exactly what I was going to say to any question asked, and was able to reply back in full confidence.”

Margaret now works for the call centre at Qantas Airways, Lynda is working for Flight Centre in Perth (WA) and Hazel works at Auckland Airport for Menzies Aviation.

As Margaret says: “Don’t let fear get in the way of your dreams. If you prepare for your interview, all will fall into place and your dreams will come true!”

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