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Friends and family: When study gets difficult

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All students have low points when they wonder why they started the module. Sometimes they just need a break and to forget about study for a while, or for someone to listen to their woes, but at other times they may need more.

OU students are often quite independent and don’t really want to ask for help, so the friends and family who know them best are very important in ensuring they are coping with their study and keeping things in perspective.

Your student’s OU tutor or study adviser is available to help with their difficulties relating to assignments, module materials and study skills. You could encourage your student to write down what is troubling them, to help get it clear, and to phone or email their tutor to talk it through. This is part of a tutor’s role and they are always happy to help.

Talking to other students on the module can be very reassuring for students feeling generally overwhelmed; others often have good tips for dealing with specific problems too. Online forum discussions can help them see that many fellow students have very similar difficulties, so even if time is tight it is worthwhile taking part. There are also useful online tips and resources in Study skills.

Anxieties about administrative matters such as fees, qualifications or arrangements for students with disabilities can also put pressure on study and motivation. OU advisers are available to give support – your student will have a contact number to call – or you could help them track down advice on the OU website.

Sometimes circumstances make it too difficult for a student to carry on with a particular module. OU staff know how painful it is to come to this decision and will help your student sort out the necessary administration. Encourage them to get in touch with whoever they know best – usually their tutor.

Some students share their experiences of how friends and family have helped in difficult times.

Student views

image of student's facet It's been such a help to have someone at home who can cheer me up when I'm struggling with coursework.
image of student's face I couldn't have managed without my family's patience – it made all the difference in the world.
image of student's face I really struggle when an assignment is due, but my family keep me going by chivvying me along when things get on top of me.
image of student's face I was relieved when my partner offered to drive me to the exam centre - it was one less thing to worry about.
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