Winners for Apr 2016 – Study Motivation

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Kateryna Hay.The results for the round ending April 2016 ("Study Motivation") are now finalised. The winner of the scholarship round is

  • Enjoy the Journey! by Kateryna Hay from the University of New England.

Kateryna gets a no-strings cash award of $2,000.

We hope she makes good use of the prize to further her ambitions to contribute to scientific advancement.

Runner-Up Entries

Based on the judges' scores, 5 runner-up entries were determined. Each receives a cash award of $200. The runner-up entries for this round are:

  • Turning Day Into Night by Hariklia Hearn-Kokkinos from UNE
  • Free by Taylor Ivy from University of Phoenix
  • Education to Provide Access to Education by Amber Heyer-Rasmussen from University of Phoenix
  • An Example for Her by Ramona Burnett from University of Phoenix
  • She's Dying by Vend from Swinburne University, Australia


The winning and runner-up entries were chosen by a 3-person panel, consisting of:

  • Dr Andrew Lancaster (founder of UniCurve)
  • Bernadette Smon (communications consultant)
  • Sandra Lancaster (school teacher).

Each judge chose their top 5 entries from the shortlisted entries (which have all been published on this site). Scores were assigned (5 for the top entry, 4 for second, 3 for third, etc) for each judge's selections. Scores were then added to decide the overall winner and runner-up entries.

All Short-Listed Entries

Enjoy the Journey!

~ by Kateryna Hay, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science with the University of New England

Without doubt, motivation is the driving force behind studying online! But how does one go about finding this motivation and, arguably more difficult, retain the motivation to keep going?

I can’t say I have the perfect answer for this question but I certainly know what works for me.

To stay focused on my study I ask myself a simple question “why am I studying?”. The answer is that I enjoy science. It is captivating, intriguing and beautiful. Science is all around us – with every answer it provides, it raises a hundred more questions. It is a mystery to be solved.

Does my motivation stream from a goal of perhaps becoming a great scientist? Surprisingly my answer is no. It would be nice, however I like to think of it this way; should a great athlete define their life by whether they win gold at the Olympic Games?

I believe that their greatest achievement is their dedication to work and training over many years to be able to compete at the top level. So what I try to remember is to enjoy the journey, for education creates the difference between who I am today and who I will become tomorrow.

Turning Day Into Night

~ by Hariklia Hearn-Kokkinos, who wants to study for a BA with UNE

It may be that the stars are twinkling quietly or the sun is trying to burst through ready to announce the start of a new day; but, it does not matter because with the click of a button I can listen to a lecture, comfortably tucked inside my study whether it is day or night.

My mind is alert and uncluttered. The espresso is steaming beside me. All I have to do is immerse myself in the joy of the moment.

How amazing that I can sit in my pyjamas and listen to a world of knowledge! It's like defying time and place all at the same time. Why waste time? With that click of a mouse I am able to start, check again and enjoy the flow of thought central to that lecture.

There is something deeply personal in listening to the voice of the lecturer, the subtle interplay of expressions on his or her face as points are made! I gasp. I wonder. I puzzle. And I laugh too! Isn't there always something to tickle our fancy when listening to an intelligent mind and rather than the moment spinning past us, we can capture it again. Stop. Replay...

Education to Provide Access to Education

~ by Amber Heyer-Rasmussen, who is studying for a B.A. English Literature with the University of Phoenix

I love being an online student because the flexible schedule allows me to live my life to the absolute fullest. I live in Istanbul, Turkey, where I am nine hours ahead of my classmates in Phoenix, Arizona. I keep strange hours as I dedicate almost all of my time volunteer teaching English as a Foreign Language as well as providing direct assistance to Syrian refugee families displaced by the war.

The ministry of education in Turkey requires me to have a bachelor's degree in order to work in education, so that's what I'm currently after! I hope I can help some of the 2.8 million child refugees who are currently not enrolled in formal education. I do not have a steady income, but my heart is full and I hope to be able to continue my volunteer work while I study online. This scholarship would help me a lot, which would cause a domino effect upon the people and organizations I am assisting as well.

Some of the habits I have developed in becoming a successful online student are to use the resources my university provides online – such as tutoring, webinars, proofreading, and forums (to name a few).

  • To start every class is, I send an email to my professor just to say hello and properly introduce myself. This opens the door for later communication, should there need be.
  • I check in online almost every day. Checking our class discussion forums and assignments is part of my morning routine.
  • To stay motivated, it helps to break down the week by assignments according to the syllabus.

I don't ever question how important an assignment is or isn't, I just do it because I see the bigger picture now. I have a specific end goal in sight and I am ready for my B.A. in English Literature to open many doors for me to travel and teach abroad.

I have become so inspired by the volunteer work that I do that I began learning Turkish and Arabic so that I could better communicate with the people I'm helping. This has inspired me to make a plan on applying for a master's program in Linguistics at Bogazici University in Istanbul once I am finished with my B.A. degree at University of Phoenix.

Online Tips

~ by Alexis Cano, who is studying Criminal Justice with University of Phoenix

When I first started taking online classes, it felt like I was not learning. I felt that there were a lot of distractions.

The first thing that I tried was listening to music, and that was a bad idea. I did not concentrate, and I was paying more attention to the lyrics than the books. I wanted to hear music so that I can study, but nothing was working.

I finally decided to give classical music a chance. I started to hear Beethoven Symphony No. 9 to be exact. When I started hearing Beethoven, it helped me focus on my studying because one I did not know much about Beethoven and his music. It is an excellent way to avoid distractions because you focus on your work.

Now every time I do school work, I need to have my music so that I can study. This method worked for me because it helped me concentrate on my school work.


~ by Taylor Ivy, who is studying for a BSHS with the University of Phoenix

I wake up and the familiar smell of my favorite coffee assaults my nose. Climbing out of bed, I peep out the window and smile as the suns warm rays kiss my cheeks. Quickly, I change and grab my backpack full of essentials for today. Making a pit stop in the kitchen to kiss my mom and snag a cup of Joe before venturing out for today’s lesson.

Laying out my thick quilt under the largest tree in the park I begin to unpack my bag. Resting my laptop on my knees I lean back against the tree and dig into my current reading assignment. Making sure to jot down important notes for class discussion and highlight key points for my group project.

Enjoying the beautiful weather and ability to take my class anywhere anytime I choose. Taking out my list I draw a line through the word “Park”. Tomorrow, I think I’ll head down to the beach for my next lesson.

A long time ago I remember being restricted to a classroom. Rushing after the professor to get all the notes from their presentation in my journal. Stressing out whether to go to class or work. Now I’m free.

An Example for Her

~ by Ramona Burnett, who is studying for a Bachelor of Science in Business with the University of Phoenix

In 2014, my husband and I adopted our daughter. She was two years old at the time and was in need of lots of love. Children need love, and they need examples as well.

I am a good example of being a loving, kind, honest and caring person. Until now, I was not a good example for my daughter regarding education.

Attending the University of Phoenix online is helping me be an example. I can take care of my home and family while gaining my education.

Online courses require planning and discipline. I plan my days around my assignments and sprinkle in as much fun as possible. I may have to get up extra early to read a chapter to be free for movie night, but it is worth it. My now four-year-old daughter goes off to preschool and reminds me to do my homework! I am hoping that she will remember this when we push her to do the same.

The ability to complete my degree online helps me reach a goal and set one for my daughter as well.

She's Dying

~ by Vend, who is studying for a Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology) with Swinburne University, Australia

I’m watching my mother die. It takes all of my energy, my strength and my love.

She is an extraordinary person, a woman who won an OA for human rights work. A giver. A fighter for the voiceless. The sort of woman who glows with compassion.

Now, her incurable brain tumour is taking away her physicality, her speech and her life. It’s like watching the purest bloom flattened by a rock, bashed from above.

She was the one who raised me, bathed me, loved me and bought me into adulthood with wisdom and grace. I want to care for her now.

Though, even wordless and in pain, she conveys her worries about me. (A mother’s job is never done); that I’ve quit work to look after her.

So, I signed on for a psychology degree online and pride settled around her like a halo. She drinks her tea in the sun, pointing at my exam results with glee. She knows me, better than anyone; she knows I adore my studies and it makes us both so happy. Now I can look after her fulltime at home, in love with my learning and in love with her. Online university is our saviour.

Online Student's Best Friend: Communication

~ by Meira Mizrahi, who is studying for a MPhil with the College of Marine and Environmental Sciences, James Cook University

With all the advantages of online study, getting through the week as an external, online student can be challenging to say the least. Motivation can be hard to find when it’s just you and your computer, day after day. With no one to bounce ideas off, or take a break with, you can find yourself second-guessing your ideas and end up stuck in a rut.

Skype has become my savior in getting through these times. My weekly chat with my supervisors provides a focus for my week, pushing me to reach my short-term goals before our meetings. In addition, these meetings provide me with a deadline to work towards (a method that works well for me), so that I don’t end up drifting through the week. I leave each session feeling rejuvenated, and with a new found confidence and understanding towards my studies.

Having someone to listen to and share ideas with can be a great mechanism to get you through those ruts that you will no doubt face when you study without human contact. So keep chatting and sharing your ideas; this will add boundless value to your studies and reaffirm that studying online is the way to go.