Amy Talks About Her Study Routine and Getting In The Zone

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Fortress Learning’s very own Amy Weeks kindly sat down with me to discuss what it was like studying her Certificate IV TAE.

From start to finish, how long did your Cert IV take?

6 months.  It was probably 4 months of not much at all except resentment, and then the last two months it was crackin’.  And, with far less resentment.

So it took you 6 months, but that was 4 months not full on, and then 2 months full on?

Yes…  Bearing in mind that I did the old Certificate IV, which is quite different to the new one.  And, also bearing in mind that because of my teaching experience, I did not have to do all of the delivery projects, which are quite involved.  So, in a sense, it’s hard to compare it with the TAE40116 now because I did get recognition for my Presenting skills and and knowledge…. And, to be honest, the TAE40116 is more stringent than the TAE40110.

To someone who is wanting to commence the Certificate IV TAE, I would say to expect it to be about 4 months of weekly, consistent work.  A lot of time needs to go into the logistics of the practical tasks. It’s not just “Ok so I’ve gotta deliver an hour session” – you’ve actually got to plan for that, make it happen, organise with people, and that takes time because you’re relying on other people to get back to you.  So, the logistics of organising a time just to commence your project can be quite time consuming.

Per day, how long would you say you worked on it for?

I was not consistent, at all, for the first 4 months.  And, because I wasn’t consistent, I didn’t go very far.  So, it was hanging over my head for a long time and I wasn’t seeming to make much progress.

It was only when I bit the bullet and set aside two nights a week, plus a weekend gig, that I started to see results, and I started to see progress.

For these two nights a week, plus weekend, what hours are we talking?

Minimum of two hours for each weeknight; maybe 4 hours on the weekend.

The Cert IV TAE takes time to get your head around and get into it.  I don’t think you could do it in 20 minute intervals.  You kind of need to get yourself in the zone in order to actually produce a chunk of work that you can say: “This is what I’ve done.”

Did you ever try to do it in just a 20 minute interval?

Yes.  I was so delusional.  I would feel proud of myself if I did a solid 20 minutes’ work, but then when I came back, it would take at least 15 minutes to work out: what have I done and where am I going next?

So, it took me 15 minutes to actually start again… so then, 5 minutes later when I felt proud of myself for sticking at it for 20 minutes, I had only actually been doing productive work for 5 minutes.

So no, 20 minute sessions did not work for me.  I think you need to set aside a full 2 hours at a time.

Can you tell me about your study rituals and routines?

I have to be comfortable, I have to have had a shower, gotten into my trackies, eaten, and possibly have snacks ready to go.  Coffee…

I would hate knowing that I was missing out on life. So, I would try and schedule it when no one else was doing anything fun. Because, if my husband was watching Game of Thrones – like, that would just crush any hopes I had of doing Certificate IV work.  So, I had to make sure that I checked other people’s schedules to make sure that they weren’t having fun without me.

Are there any tips you’d like to share?

I think you’ve got to allow yourself to get to the point where you can focus. And then, like anything, once you’re focused and you’re in the flow, it is not that bad.

What makes it hard is when you are not focused and you’re distracted and you’re thinking about what you’re missing out on… and you’re resenting that this is really hard, or you don’t want to do it.  So, I think you just have to discipline yourself to get to the point where you can focus.  And then you’re in it, and you’re learning, and suddenly, it’s actually quite interesting.

I found that the further I went through the course, when it all started to come together in my head, I enjoyed it far more because I let myself.  I wasn’t resistant.  So, once I took the brakes off, then I was like, “Yeah! I get it! It’s all falling together and it’s actually quite useful.”

But I think we’re our own worst enemy … in the sense that our thoughts and our attitude can really get in our own way. When we stop fighting ourselves, it’s good.

If you would like to know more about what it means to be a student with us, how about you read Dear Future Student, check out Our Courses, or give us a call on 1300 141 994 and we can explore what that would look like.

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