When you finish college and you are deciding what to do next, you may be considering postgraduate studies. But the cost is often the thing that puts people off. You’ve just been through four years of college, building up a huge amount of debt – do you want to take on more? If you start working right away, you could begin paying off the debt instead of increasing it, so surely that’s the best option?
Unfortunately, it’s not always that clear-cut. You may require more education to pursue your career goals. But that doesn’t mean you have to take on the financial burden because you can work and do your postgraduate studies at the same time. This makes things more affordable, even though it is a huge challenge.
If you are going to juggle the two, you need to go about it in the right way, so you don’t get overwhelmed. As such, here are some top tips for balancing postgraduate studies and full-time work.
Try Online Study
Flexibility is crucial if you want to study and work simultaneously. You need to find a course that you can fit around work so that you can meet your responsibilities in both areas. Online study is the best way to go here because you can do things at your own pace and work remotely, which makes it a lot easier to balance your schedule.
Reputable educational institutions like Spalding University Online offer excellent online postgraduate courses that fit around your job and family life. It will still be a lot of hard work, but it’s more manageable when you get to set your own schedule.
Explore Flexible Work
Finding flexible work is equally important if you want to keep your schedule in check. Working practices have changed significantly and there are plenty of employers that will allow you to work remotely these days. Many companies allow for flexible working hours, too, as long as you maintain productivity.
If you are already working, speak to your boss about your plans for postgraduate study and see whether there is anything they can do to help accommodate this. If they don’t want to lose you, they will usually make changes to cater to your study so that you can pursue higher education while working. On the other hand, in the case you’re starting a new job search, simply filter your search by remote work or flexible jobs and you will find plenty of options.
Plan Your Days
There are only so many minutes in a day, and you’ll need to use them all productively if you are studying and working at the same time. Breaking your day down into small chunks and planning things out in detail ensures that you stay on track and don’t fall behind with work or study.
Use a digital calendar and time management apps to keep on top of things, and don’t forget to factor in downtime. Relaxing and doing things you enjoy is an important part of your schedule, too, because if you work too hard, you will burn yourself out.
When it comes to your spare time, you should also set clear boundaries. It’s easy to convince yourself to skip lunch and get on top of work instead. Plus, if your boss asks you to stay late, you might have trouble saying no. But you have so little free time, and it’s incredibly valuable, so don’t be afraid to make it a priority.
No matter how well you organize your time, undertaking postgraduate study and working simultaneously will be quite stressful at times. It’s easy for good practices like healthy eating and exercising to fall by the wayside. However, staying physically and mentally healthy is the best way to manage your stress.
So, make sure that you factor in time for exercising when creating your schedule. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to protect your mental health when you are trying to balance a high-pressure schedule.
Also, if you are not great at healthy eating, you should try meal prep. Set aside some time at the weekend to prepare healthy, balanced meals so you can quickly grab something during the week when you are too busy to cook. This stops you from snacking on unhealthy foods while you are studying.
Celebrate The Small Wins
Finding motivation is tough when you have a mountain of studying and all your work responsibilities to manage side by side. Sometimes, it feels like you’re working flat out and getting nowhere, and you can easily get disheartened. However, breaking things into small milestones and celebrating the small wins is a good way to keep things moving.
Although you have long-term goals like writing your thesis or finishing up that big project at work, picking out small achievements to work toward is great for motivation and morale. Each time you tick something off your list, celebrate by treating yourself. For example, each semester can be broken down into different assignments and exams, while your thesis can be broken down into separate chapters.
Reach Out For Support
There will be times when things get on top of you, and that’s unavoidable. The key is dealing with it in the right way, so you don’t spiral and lose track of your studying or fall behind at work.
The worst thing you can do is bottle everything up and let the stress build up. Instead, you should reach out to those around you for support. You could consider talking to your employer if you need help at work or your tutors if your postgraduate studies are too overwhelming.
When you just need to vent, speak with friends and family and let them know what you’re going through. Offloading your problems is a great stress buster, and it stops things from building up to a breaking point. So, don’t suffer in silence when things are hard.
Balancing postgraduate study with full-time work can reduce the financial burden, but it’s also incredibly stressful sometimes. If you don’t get your work-life balance right, the stress can spiral out of control. However, if you follow these tips, you can juggle it all successfully and make sure that you meet your work responsibilities and nail your studies at the same time.