I think it is safe to say that we can all get caught up in time-lines. Getting assignments in as soon as they are done, even if the previous one hasn’t yet been returned. Or registering in classes under the cut-off date of the 10th. If there is one thing I have learned, and keep learning, it is that patience is a wonderful thing, and sometimes having it can save a lot of headaches and stress.

Submitting assignments in order, and waiting for feedback, is important in this type of education. Sometimes it can be difficult, or impossible, to wait for assignments to be returned first: contract dates could be looming, or tutors may not be responsive. For the sake of this article though, I am going off my experience in which tutors have (typically) been responsive and within the marking timeline. There have been occasions that I have had no reason to lose my patience, but I have the next assignment polished and ready to go, so I obsessively refresh my course page to see if an assignment has been returned. The assignment that is done weighs on me. It wants to be submitted. I wait. I wait for what seems to be as long as I can. Finally I throw up my hands and submit, only to have the assignment I was waiting for returned within the hour?with vital feedback that I could have, should have, used in the assignment I submitted too early.

Recently my patience was tested again. I was waiting for a final mark to come through, for a course to be closed off, so I could register for the two I needed for December. Time was ticking by and there was no sign of the final mark. I emailed my tutor and called Athabasca University to check to see where my mark was. It was not looking as if it would be finalized in time; thankfully, though, Athabasca University has a loophole for this issue. This loophole, however, comes with the stipulation that it takes some time to process registration. This time meant that I might not have been able to register for December. So I filled out the paperwork, emailed it in plastered with notes as to how I met prerequisites and how I was?technically?under the six course limit, only for my elusive course to be closed off the following day.

This lesson in patience is one I have learned many times, one that never sticks, and yet, one that should. Having a little patience can go a long way to saving yourself headache, work, and lost marks. Having a little patience can mean the difference between having marks taken off for a repeated mistake, and getting the mark you deserve. It can mean the difference between wasting a couple days trying to jump through extra hoops, or being able to dedicate those days to courses that are on the go. Having a little patience is vital, especially in distance education, the feedback we get is so important, and wasting days stressing over self-made deadlines is, ultimately, not productive.

Deanna Roney is an AU student who loves adventure in life and literature

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