How to tackle your fear of further study

If you’re heading back to university for further study later in life, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious and fearful of what’s to come. This could be especially true if you’ve never completed online study before, or you’re dedicating time to something new in your already busy life.

Will I be able to handle study? Are my other commitments going to get neglected? Will I be able to afford further study?

Open Universities Australia (OUA) has heard so many of these questions before from students coming through, so, they’ve offered up some advice to help you along the way.


Already feeling like you’re spread pretty thinly? Don’t use up more time by stressing about it! There’s no doubt that you will be pushed on time, so the best thing to do is try and find a balance between work and play as soon as possible. We know this is easier said than done, but you’ll already have a good handle on how far you can push yourself and how much time you’ve got to give.

From setting yourself a timeline, to protecting and honouring your study time, it’s a case of taking strategies you’ve used in your work and career so far and transferring these over to make good study habits.

Finding your place

Are you worried you won’t feel like you fit in at university? If you’re returning to study later in life, there’s the possibility you’ll feel like the oldie in the room, or out of touch with what’s going on. While those fears are valid, take comfort in knowing that there are plenty of others who feel the same – and are tackling a new challenge later in life as well!

For OUA, those that they’ve seen feel most comfortable are those that don’t fret about spending time learning next to those of younger years or different experience levels. With your maturity and experience will come management and organisational skills that those younger students won’t have. So, at the end of the day, they’ll probably be looking to you for guidance! 


There’s no denying you’ll have to spend some cash to go back to university. In saying that, there are ways of trimming your spending and making your study experience less expensive. Particularly when you’re studying online, you’re less likely to need to spend money on transport to and from class, parking, and other hidden costs. With online study, your big investments will be in a laptop and textbooks.

In terms of fees, understanding your access to a Commonwealth Supported Place, HECS and FEE-HELP loans to help pay for your study, will help you stay on top of your finances during further study. The expert student advisors at OUA will be able to help you with any questions you have on the support that might be available to you.


As you’ll undoubtedly know after a longstanding career, there’s no disregarding the value of experience! But, do you worry about a new degree or further education being taken seriously by your current or future employer because it’s an online course?

All of Australia’s leading universities are moving their courses online, so there’s no need to worry that it won’t be seen as a proper degree. It’s exactly the same as its on-campus counterpart. Studying remotely and picking up online communication skills with students that are based all over the country are just some of the benefits you’ll get out of studying your degree online. But you probably know that – that’s why you’re here!


When it comes to studying online, there can be a fear that you’ll be feeling really isolated in your experience. But, just because you’re not on campus, doesn’t mean you’ll feel left out in the cold.

As soon as you’re enrolled, you’ll be able to meet hundreds of fellow students through forums, and those students could be from all over the world. While you might not be sitting in a classroom together on campus, you could end up sharing your experience with a student from a country on the other side of the world.

There’s no doubt that being a university student later in life will be tough at times. Yet, like everything else, there’ll also be great and memorable moments that make it all worth it. Whether it’s submitting an assignment after a hellish week of study, or connecting with another student who shares the same passion as you, these are the things you’ll really hold onto after you finish those final assignments and exams. 

If you’d like to talk more with someone from OUA about what you can expect from further study, called one of their expert student advisors on 1300 513 044 or get in touch online here.


This article was originally published by our friends at Open Universities Australia.


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