Work is the curse of the studying class, but we all need to eat. Read on for tips on how to balance full-time work with part-time postgraduate study.
Are you the kind of person who balances a part-time job, full-time uni, and a thousand other commitments? Do you find yourself looking at your calendar, desperately trying to figure out where you can find another 5 hours in the week to finish an assignment, without forgoing another 5 hours of sleep? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!
For many students, your first full-time job will come as a relief. You might find yourself saying, “I can’t believe I get to finish work at the end of the day, and do what I like in the evenings!”. For others, however, the juggling act will continue a little longer. Law grads will begin College of Law studies, Accounting grads may choose to dive straight into CPA or CA studies, and Finance grads who can’t sit still will start ordering their CFA textbooks. Many more you will enrol in other part-time postgraduate degrees related to your profession a year or two down the track, so it’s import to be prepared for balancing further study and a flourishing career.
The key to making full-time work and part-time study fit together like peas in a pod is good planning and self-discipline.
Be smart about how you allocate your time and look for life-hacks that allow you to do two things at once (or three!). For instance, if you commute to work via public transport, instead of scrolling through your instagram feed, you can use the time to read through lecture notes. If you walk or drive to work, you can install a text-to-voice app on your phone to read academic papers to you. You could even cut down on time spent at the gym and get fit by running to work (while listening to lectures); a trifecta!
Depending on the postgraduate course you are taking, you might need to negotiate time- off during the week with your employer to attend classes. Instead or arriving on campus just in time for your class, go an hour early and stay two hours later, and use the time to power through all your course work for the week. Many postgraduate courses cater for full-time workers and schedule classes in the evening, but this doesn’t mean you can’t still ask your boss to leave at 4pm on Wednesday to make time to prepare (remind them how valuable the course is for your future at the company!).
When you have to complete an assignment at university, think about how you can structure it around a similar project you have at work. Provided your employer agrees, you might be able to spend work time researching a project for your degree!
It's easy to get caught up in the mindset of being ‘busy’. You shouldn't be working all hours without giving yourself time to enjoy life. Make sure you include leisure time into your schedule. If you don't take a break, you may find yourself worker ‘harder’ but not ‘smarter’. You can also always ask for study leave from your employer, allowing you to give your full attention to your degree, say before exams or important projects.
Providing you have the right coping strategy, managing work and study shouldn’t be something that is endured, but rather something that is enjoyed. Different strategies will work for different people, so find out what works for you and stick to it.