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Blog

Psychology student Mark’s study tips for stressful times

Everyone experiences stress differently. And during this current time of uncertainty, many students might be feeling it a lot more than others. It can be tough juggling priorities and keeping yourself both motivated and productive when there is so much going on in the world. That’s why we have enlisted the help of model student, Mark, to provide some study tips for tackling this together.

Mark is a Bachelor of Psychological Sciences student who started studying with Swinburne Online in 2017. Prior to that, he was running various businesses and was heavily into cycling, taking out a win in the Master’s Road National Championships and sometimes training up to 18 hours per week. This combined with raising a toddler at the time, ended up leading to some immense pressure and eventual hospitalisation for Mark, who had developed a virus and was left bedridden with some extra time on his hands.

Why Psychology?

After going through something so serious you can’t help getting a new perspective on life, and I began to think that I would like to be involved in health care.

Believe it or not, Mark decided to study psychology by reading entire textbooks on the subject. He concluded that if he made it through them, he might be capable of completing a degree, and he was!

He completed his first assignments while he recovered outside of hospital and when Mark was well enough, he wound up his business, sold the house and moved his family to the country. For the first time in 23 years, Mark was doing what he enjoyed, while still being able to study.

Studying online suited me perfectly. All the learning materials and resources are online so there is no need to battle peak hour or cram onto a train to get a book from the library. I can study when and where I want.

How Mark improves on his studies

Long after the glow of enrolment fades, Mark knows that studying can sometimes get monotonous. That’s why he is always looking for new ways to stay on top of content, prepare for exams, and write assignments. Trying new ways to study helps Mark find his best level of focus and motivation.

He also believes that utilising feedback is a great way to improve academically, so that he can address his shortcomings for next time. By choosing to be open and thoughtful in the response to his failings, Mark always hopes to see improvement.

Cycling taught me that I am competitive with myself rather than others, so self-improvement is important.

Mark’s tips for these stressful times

Mark has noticed that many people choose to withdraw into their own world socially when they are stressed. This surprises him as he typically responds to stress by reaching out to others via phone calls or social media. You may have seen him frequenting your social platform, Connect with some great advice for his peers. Mark believes that stress comes from your perception of challenging times, rather than from the challenges themselves. He hopes that this insight might help others reduce their stress levels during this time.

[This] helps me to know that I am in control of my stress, and can choose how external challenges will affect me based on my outlook… I can choose to be the author of my own book.

Plans for the future

Mark is currently part-way through the last subject of his degree and is very proud of how far he has come.

It is one of the best things I have ever done. My life has completely changed for the experience; my financial position, friendships, relationship, relationships with my kids and outlook have changed significantly.

His partner has just started completing her own psychology degree and Mark himself is “flirting” with the idea of moving the family to the US for a year and applying for postgraduate study at Stanford or Philadelphia. But for now, Mark is focusing on finishing his last assignment in a productive and stress-free manner.

If you need more help focusing during these uncertain times, head to our blog for our best study tips and check out how to maintain a healthy routine to help keep you on track.