In order to succeed at anything, preparation is key. Prepare yourself for the course ahead. Know what you're getting into. For me, I'm taking on a special purpose award level 7 from Dublin Business School in Digital Marketing. I have been through the module headings, spoken to the lecturers, emailed and called the college with questions, and I've taken online courses that give me a stronger grounding in the concepts I'll come up against in lectures.
Don't get too overwhelmed. Keep lists and plans. Invest in a FiloFax or a diary of some kind. Write down your deadlines, make notes of meetings you need to attend. Spend time in the library. Read on the bus or the train. If you know the things you need to do, you can tackle them more easily and the act of checking things off a list will motivate you to keep going.
Having an end goal is great, but short term goals are key to maintaining momentum. You see it all the time, people who go into something feet first and end up drowning in work, with no real focus or drive or direction. Knowing what you want at the end of the course is of course a huge driver, but do you know what you need to do at the end of every month to keep you moving towards that end goal? Short term goals will keep your wheels in motion, and every one you meet is one step closer to the dream.
Plan for after the course. Apply for jobs or internships. Know what you're going to be doing when the course finishes up and you graduate. Have a plan stepped out so you're not going to flounder when you finally have your qualification.
Take breaks, though. Remember to look after yourself. I've been talking to friends about my impending studies, and one thing I've noticed myself saying if that I'll be "climbing the walls". Probably not a good thing, girl! So I'm going to make plans for one or two weekend breaks, archery, and friends. Keeping the balance in life means you can maintain some sanity in the midst of all the academia. Go for cocktails once in a while, eat dinner with your other half, watch B-movies with your friends. If you plan and prepare well, you won't have to worry about taking weekends off!
Enjoy your college experience, dear reader, and take from it everything you can possibly get!
I wish you the best of luck,