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Cloud Campus student Madeleine Stratmann

3 June 2020

Get study period advice from a Cloud Campus student

We know that the study period can be a challenging time for Cloud Campus students who are often also working full time and fulfilling many other responsibilities. We sat down to talk with Cloud Campus student Madeleine Stratmann to get some advice on exam preparation and balancing life commitments during the study period.

Tell us about yourself.

I’m studying the Bachelor of Laws via the Cloud Campus. This is my third degree, I’ve also done a Bachelor of Arts and Music. I always wanted to get into law and when I heard about Deakin’s Cloud Campus it seemed like the perfect situation to balance full-time work.

How do you stay motivated?

I’m really lucky to have a great network of friends and family. I’m also a musician and that taught me that self-discipline is really important. I’m balancing my studies with my work and I find that pressure drives me as well. I also really want a good graduate role and decent marks when I finish so that’s been a really motivator for me. I keep my eye on that end goal.

I’ve also written up a list of things that I want to do when I finish the exam, things like ‘I’m going to read this book’ or ‘I’m going to binge this TV show’. I’ve put it on my wall and it’s a pretty decent motivator. If I’m getting bogged down in my study I can look at my list of fun things I’m going to do.

How do you manage your time?

For some people, blocking out hours each day to work on study works, but I find that doesn’t really work for me! With full-time work and other things I have going on, I find it better to say to myself, ‘by Friday I want to have watched all my classes of the week, by Sunday I want to have all my seminars of the week.’ Then I just work them at my own pace. I also try to stay a week ahead to give myself some breathing room.

How do you look after your health and wellbeing while studying online?

At the moment I’m working from home, but still waking up at the usual time. I have an extra hour each day, so my partner and I have been able to go for long walks with the dog every morning. My partner is already a lawyer and he’s been a really great support to me and let me bounce ideas of him and vent about any stress I have.

I’ve also made a big effort to keep in touch with my Cloud Campus friends and my on-campus friends. We’ve been doing Zoom meeting every Friday at lunch time. It’s great because when you’re doing exam prep you can sometimes zone out everyone or freak them out by talking about your stress, but with my friends we really all let each other talk to each other without any judgment. These types of support networks have been really important to me.

What’s your favourite study snack?

I’m a sucker for chocolate chip cookies. My housemate is also a student and we just go through so many chocolate chip cookies every week. We recently ran out and both each bought more, so now we have two tins to see us through this week.

What other advice do you have for Cloud Campus students?

Cloud Campus students are such a rare breed. You won’t find too many university students with the self-discipline and self-motivation to choose to study online. A lot of Cloud Campus students have kids and a lot of family commitments and the fact that they can manage that and study I think is just incredible.

My advice is that It’s OK to be overwhelmed. It’s been a very trying year so far. Just remember that Deakin has so many great resources available. Don’t be scared to reach out to them, that’s why they’re there, to support students during a difficult time. Take a look at the study support and health and wellbeing webpages if you’re having a rough time.

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