Insights from the success story of a final-year student

A final-year student drew from her own journey as an online learner at WOU to offer tips on studying, writing assignments, time management and remaining motivated.

Opalyn Mok is a final-year student for the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in English Studies (BAES) programme, with a specialisation in Language and Literature. She has been on the Dean’s List for 7 semesters, including achieving a CGPA of 4.0 over four semesters. She entered WOU through APEL (Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning) using her SPM qualifications plus 20 years experience as a journalist and writer. The mother of two is currently a Malay Mail senior correspondent in Penang.

OPALYN MOK STARTED OUT AS A CADET JOURNALIST WITH THE SUN IN 1999.

The engaging webinar streamed live on Zoom titled “Discover the Pathway to Success in Distance Education” was organised by the School of Education, Humanities and Social Sciences today and attended by over 40 participants.

Mok said that to succeed as an online learner, focus and discipline is important. She therefore shuts down all social media when studying, including muting and putting aside her handphone. She also delegates household chores to her husband and children.

JUGGLING WORK, STUDY AND FAMILY TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENT RESULTS AT WOU.

On writing great assignments, her style is to read, tell stories, keep it simple, and accept that nothing is perfect. She uses the chunks of waiting time in her job to scroll websites and download articles, e-books and research journals. Her two favourite reference sites are Scholar.google.com and Citationmachine.net.  She reads a lot and does research before she starts putting down facts in writing to tell stories about a particular topic, keeping the language simple to reduce errors and for easy understanding.

Mok remarked that her golden hour of studying, reading or doing assignments is the two hours up to midnight when her kids are asleep. She uses this time for mental breaks as well to relax and refresh her mind, like reading novels or watching television.

She called on students to start their reading/research early, to ask the tutor if they do not understand the questions, to discuss with course maters on how to handle assignments and to preferably not ask for extensions as this will mean less time for the next assignment.

She also described her studying skills; she reads to understand the topics and then uses her own words to tell the story, rather than memorising. She said it helps to look at studying as watching a movie where we open our minds to learning new knowledge and concepts.

MOK DOWNLOADS AND READS A LOT BEFORE SHE PUTS DOWN THE FACTS TO WRITE HER ASSIGNMENT.

Regarding time management, Mok advised students to finish one assignment first before starting on another as you can forget what you read when you switch,and to share chores and have boundaries with family members when working or studying.

She remarked that to remain motivated and persevere, you should believe in yourself, do not compare with others, and do not add pressure on yourself to be perfect but just focus on your own achievements. “Enjoy the journey,” she concluded.

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