Overcoming the Hurdles of Balancing Work & Education
The 9-5 grind is rough enough some days, but when you add in study too? Well, it can feel a bit chaotic. Furthering your education is always a good idea, but there will be hurdles that you encounter if you are also planning on working at the same time.
Whether you plan on studying for a master of management or a diploma in veterinary science, here are some tips to overcoming the hurdles so that there is nothing keeping you from your career aspirations and pursuing a vocation you are really passionate about.
Understand each commitment
Before you take on your study, it is imperative that you fully understand what you are signing up for. How many contact hours are required? Will this be face to face learning or online, and do the lecture times work within your schedule? You also want to be aware of any big projects in the pipeline at work so you can precipitate your schedule and understand how those periods overlay with assessments. Some courses will also require face to face workshops and exams, so make sure you are aware of this commitment and whether it will impact your work schedule.
Share your plan with your employer
You may be able to circumvent any hurdles if you work directly with your employer to meet your educational commitments. If your course will enhance your performance at work and allow you to take your role to the next level, then they will be even more likely to work with you. Some workplaces can even negotiate RDO’s with you so you can complete study hours within your work schedule – so speak with your Human Resources team to find out if this is possible.
Another great way to get your workplace engaged with your study is if you share what you are learning and how those takeaways can be applied to your job. Hosting a Town Hall could be a great exercise and valuable for you and your colleagues alike. You may even attract attention from the right stakeholders who will consider you for projects and buy-in related to your area of study.
Take control of time
If you are finding that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, then perhaps you can get creative with the time available to you. Buy the e-book version of your textbooks as there is a feature to have the book read to you, which could get you through a few chapters on your commute to work. You can also listen to audio content when you are cooking dinner, folding washing and any other time when you have the capacity to listen and take it in.
You should also get real about what hours of the day you are more likely to engage with study, and what hours you are recovering from work. Perhaps you are quite drained after work and less likely to be in the mood to study, making a morning hour of power more productive for you. Understand your patterns and place your study commitments around your work schedule, and remember to leave some time for rest too.
Explore all resources available to you
You do not need to struggle in vain, as there are a number of resources available to you. Your education provider will have student success advisors who can be very helpful in pointing you in the right direction, working with you on skills gaps and even breaking down learning outcomes and assessments into more manageable bites. There are also many scholarship opportunities within your education provider and also at a state and national level – many of which are unrelated to your grades, and more about your circumstances. If you can take any time or financial stress away, then you will be less likely to bring it to work and feel unfocused in that space.
It is never a bad idea to study, but these qualifications do not always come without some changes on your part. Balancing both study and work is possible – so put these tips into practice and start levelling up.