Image: Student Deborah OwenMaking the most of retirement by studying a degree online

Whilst retirement provides many with an opportunity to take a much needed break from work and a chance to enjoy a more laid back lifestyle, this wasn’t the case for Deborah Owen who, after taking early retirement, wanted to keep herself occupied and so took up the challenge of studying for a degree.

Because of existing commitments completing a degree in the traditional sense wasn’t possible, but this didn’t deter Deborah, who discovered that online degree courses run by the University of Derby Online Learning provided both a structured yet flexible approach to study.

Deborah decided to study for a BSc (Hons) Psychology degree which she started in September 2009.

She said: “I was drawn to a subject that was related to physiology in some way and Derby seemed to reflect my style of learning more than other universities I looked into. I liked the idea that psychology encompasses many subjects and that you can focus on the topics which you have most enthusiasm for, which for me were biology, pain and health.”

Motivation was the key to success

As you don’t have lectures to attend and the majority of the work you do is in your own time you need to be motivated to successfully study online.

“I was used to working for myself and therefore had the self-discipline required for successful study. The most difficult part was ‘training’ my family and friends not to disturb me when I was studying! I found it useful to approach my studies like a job, which meant that I had a schedule of work I had to keep to,” explains Deborah.

Although students don’t attend lectures, they still receive plenty of support from Derby’s experienced and dedicated online tutors who are on hand to answer questions and provide guidance.

“Support from your tutors is really important when you undertake distance learning and you get that at Derby. The majority of communication is done through email and the responses I received were prompt and informative. An added benefit was a residential week, held at the University, which gave me a great opportunity to meet fellow students and tutors.”

Deborah found psychology such a fascinating subject that by the end of her degree she’d decided to continue her studies at Derby by completing a Masters.

As the University offers the option of starting a number of courses in January, rather than September, she decided to begin her Masters in January 2012 and has just graduated.

Deborah concludes: “A January start was preferable to me as it enabled me to devote the maximum time possible to reading around the subject rather than racing through.

What would you say to anyone thinking of studying online with Derby?

“Whilst online studying can be challenging it’s a flexible option if you want to study at degree level and have other commitments which would make it difficult for you to pursue the more traditional route of attending University, such as a full time job or having a family to look after. I’d definitely recommend the University of Derby Online Learning to anybody who is disciplined enough to commit the time to it.”