Postgraduate Study: How to Balance Employment & Education

She’s taking a green MBA and building a robot who can manufacture custom solar panels

Balancing professional employment with the pursuit of higher education can be a challenge – particularly if you are working full-time! Of course, if you are employed full-time, your work commitments are likely to already take up the majority of your weekly schedule. Most full-time employees are expected to work for a minimum of 40 hours a week – if not more, especially in cases where complying with requests for  ‘reasonable overtime’ by the employer is stipulated in the employment contract.

As such, it can be difficult to juggle the completion of a higher education qualification with existing professional commitments. However, slotting postgraduate study into your already busy schedule is one that will pay off in the long term. With dedication, planning, and by effectively managing your time, attaining a postgraduate qualification whilst working full-time is achievable. 

Nonetheless, if you do plan to study while working, you also need to ensure that you are taking care of yourself. Keep reading for our guide on how to balance professional work and education, as well as the best techniques to employ to ensure you do not burn out from exhaustion and overcommitment!

Postgraduate Qualifications: Why Higher Education is Worth Pursuing

nurses in a circle, studying classes together

Some nursing and healthcare profession courses can be taken online

If you have been considering pursuing a postgraduate qualification, you will perhaps already be familiar with the many benefits of higher education. You may, however, not realise how easy it is to complete a postgraduate degree through online learning. Importantly, there is a multitude of postgraduate online courses that are available, readily accessible, and quite literally just waiting for you to enrol! Of course, you will need to be able to access the course materials digitally. But with the majority of prospective students already in possession of either a desktop computer or laptop, this shouldn’t be an issue for most people. 

Needless to say, you likely already know that the benefits of postgraduate study are abundant – personally, financially, and professionally. But perhaps most importantly, completing a postgraduate degree opens up doorways to opportunities that are often not accessible without one. If you are aspiring to pursue a lucrative career in academia, for example, a postgraduate qualification is essential.

Managing Your Time: How to Make Combining Professional and Study Commitments Work For You

coding engineering in green mba

Coding like the planet depends on it

Once you have enrolled in your online course, you will usually be sent virtual links to the coursework material, to complete in your own time. Studying the course outline at the beginning of your study period will assist immensely in planning out your schedule for the duration of your studies, and will ensure that you can meet the course requirements within the timeline of your degree. Choosing flexible study arrangements – such as studying on a part-time basis, for instance – may make this more manageable, and more achievable for you.

Of course, you will still need to be wary of pre-determined assessment and assignment due dates, as there are hefty penalties for late submissions. This is why it is crucial to manage your time well, throughout your study period. On this subject, it is also important to note that your university study period will vary dependent on your selected educational institution. To clarify, university study periods are usually divided into either semesters or trimesters, or even, a combination of the two! 

In addition, you will also need to stay on top of the key study areas – which are usually delivered both thematically, and chronologically. That is to say, the study themes throughout your course will generally each be assigned to a certain week of the semester or trimester. You will be given that particular week to complete readings that relate to the week’s theme or study area. It is of course essential to keep up with the weekly readings, as the related themes are usually discussed and analysed in that particular week’s lectures and tutorials.

Avoiding Burnout: How to Regulate Your Stress Levels When Working and Studying at the Same Time 

Needless to say, self-care techniques are essential when you have a lot on your plate. Overcommitting to professional, study and personal activities can take its toll on your energy levels. You can start to experience exhaustion, fatigue, and even burnout! That is why looking after your health when you are working and studying at the same time is crucial to your well-being.

This means not only regulating your mental state by ensuring that your stress levels are manageable but also, taking care of your physical health. You can achieve this by doing daily exercise, as well as consuming a healthy and balanced diet. Of course, it is equally important to rest. Your body needs downtime to recover, refuel and recharge your batteries. As such, it is highly recommended that on top of all your existing activities, you also make sure that you schedule some relaxing, quiet time for yourself.

Undoubtedly, if you commit to postgraduate study while also working at the same time, you will feel a considerable amount of pressure! However, by managing your time and planning out the course milestones throughout your study period, you can get it done. Most importantly, once you have completed your postgraduate degree, the benefits will be worth it – particularly in terms of career opportunities that will be opened up to you.

 

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