5 Effective Ways to Juggle a Job with Postgraduate StudyJanuary 15, 2018

Imagine an academic career, freelance gigs now and then, and a PhD, and how the people are impressed with you after they ask you what you're doing for a living. It seems like a stuff of fiction, if not a feel-good Hollywood movie, but it can be done. You may not have time for other things, though. It won't be fun, which you won't mind at first. And then the signs of burnout.

Juggling work with postgraduate study shouldn't be daunting for some professionals/postgraduate student especially those who have studied literature. If Singles Honours students have to procrastinate to beat the deadline of their essay assignments, then think of the number of essays that a Joint Honours students must do during their time at the university. (Double. Let's not forget an essay on your favourite French novel in French.) Those who have done it (and passed it flying colors) would point out that the situation could be different from their undergraduate days, a case of serving two masters at the same time. It won't happen most of the time, and it would be impossible if you have a young family.

You wouldn't end up in that kind of situation by accident, so you must have planned it out in advance. The best-laid plans could go wrong at some point, as something would come up. You need to step it up and find a balance.

What Can Work for You (and What Won't Do)

The coursework must be your first priority. You'll spend lots of money, even if it's funded in your case (and you get paid for it). If this won't be an eye opener, then remind yourself of the time that you'll devote to your studies. It would be foolish to neglect it for an hour, even less. If there will be a dilemma, then make sure that it won't affect your performance in the workplace. You should be perceptive enough to notice the early signs of trouble, which is a signal to consult your boss. Don't be reluctant to bare your thoughts (or feelings). You won't break any bylaws if you ask about a flexible working schedule.

You must bring a book, which is included in your reading list. You won't be able to read it in one sitting, even several chapters if you have a few hours of free time. You're too tired to read a chapter, as you're thinking about work-related matter. It's very hard to put yourself into a mood (to read a book), but you can do it small steps. Read a chapter or two whenever you don't have anything else to do. It won't strain your eyes, so you can read while commuting. (You can even do it in the university grounds, but make sure that there aren't any distractions.) Don't worry about not taking notes, as you'll be able to recall the book if you're in a relaxed state of mind. And it may be in short supply.

Be honest about your capabilities. A tutoring job seems too good to pass up, but check out the details. If it requires you to commute for an hour or more, then don't consider it. You might not have time for the coursework. Your boss won't be pleased about it. Your energetic self might be able to pull it off at some point, but don't count on sustaining it for a long time. You won't have time for exercising. (And you must be fit to keep sharp.) You won't have time for socialising with your mates, if not quality time with your family. (You'll have more problems if you neglect it.) You won't have time for dining and good conversation. (You'll yearn for it when you've been stressed out.) Plan ahead. Know your standing in the university.

Consider the opportunities in the university. You've decided that this would be a sensible move on your part, and you're absolutely right. (If you can't foresee yourself doing your tasks in the office, then think of something closer to the lecture room.) This is not a long-term solution, as you have to make another hard decision sooner or later. Are you really serious about an academic career? It seems like the right path for those who want to embark on a career in authorship. Some fields (like the ones related to science) may be a road less traveled. You might have to consult with the Guidance Office about your options, if not a member of the faculty.

Plan your busy months ahead. The last few months of the term can be hectic, such that you'll be hoping for blind luck to save you during those unexpected moments. You don't have to do it if you have a planner. (If you stick to the schedule, then you shouldn't encounter lots of bumps.) Don't be an incorrigible student, as you must be receptive to last-minute changes.

Why You Must Have a Back-up Plan

There will come a time when you'll be tempted to give it up. The financial responsibility may overwhelm you. There's an opportunity in the workplace, and it would be foolish of you to let it go. You'll reach your limit. The last one doesn't mean that you're a failure, as there are some ways to get out of the hole.

Talk to your tutor, if not the head of the faculty. It might be possible to make a new arrangement. If it's money matter, then look into the postgraduate masters loan scheme. If you're dead tired, then you might need to catch up on your sleep during the weekend. If you really need a holiday, then don't go too far. You still have unfinished business.

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