The good news: a postgraduate qualification is a great way to advance your career. It will develop your skills, deepen your knowledge – and likely boost your income too. On top of this, you will be studying something that is your passion.
But even if you know this, working out how you are going to fit a demanding study schedule around your existing ‘life stuff’ can be daunting. Whether you’re coming back to study after a long break, or transitioning straight from your undergrad degree, the challenge of balancing work, life and study is real.
With some thoughtful organisation and a healthy dose of discipline you can manage life’s competing demands. Here are our top tips for how to prepare your life for postgraduate study.
Find ways to blend your study, research and projects into the professional work that you do. Use your own professional experiences for case studies and write on subjects relevant to your field. Practical assignments take on a whole lot more meaning when you can apply them to the work that you’re already doing. Plus you can shave down time because you’ll have a handy set of resources and contacts at your fingertips.
No one else in your life is going to ‘get’ you in quite the same way that your fellow students will. Be smart and find yourself a study buddy (or even a few of them). Connect with your fellow students by organising brainstorming meetings, writing workshops or study sessions. It’s a great way to share the load, ride the highs and lows, ask the dumb questions you were too shy to ask in class, and hash out new ideas.
Use your experience
You’ve already got an undergraduate degree and by now you have identified most things that could derail your study. You probably have an instinctive understanding of structured procrastination and you’ve streamlined your time management strategies. This is your second time round, so remember what has worked for you in the past.
Get your support team on-board
Getting support from your partner, family, employer and colleagues can make a huge difference. Sharing your intentions, goals and hopes with family and friends lets them know where you’re headed and why it’s important to you. It’s also a great idea to approach your workplace – they might be flexible when it comes to how you organise your working week.
Remember why you want this
University study is hard, but it is worth it. Being able to pursue something you are dedicated to, meeting people who feel the same way and improving your future prospects isn’t something you’re likely to regret. Focus on your goals and remember why you love what you do.
And one last tip: don’t forget the simple things
Don’t forget that there are really simple ways to de-stress. Study in a cafe or your backyard sometimes. When you’re scheduling your week ahead, put time aside to spend with a friend or your family. Boost your mood with physical activity. Go for a walk, do a yoga class, or take a daily break to dance around the kitchen to your favourite song.
However you look at it, there’s a big chance you’ll have to do some sacrificing. But that’s not to say that you can’t get through the postgrad mountain climb unscathed. Come graduation, your hard-won feelings of satisfaction and pride will far outweigh any stress you experienced along the road.
Want to know more about how we can help you achieve your goals? We offer a range of support services for students.
Would you like to have a chat with an expert about your path to postgrad? Book a one on one consultation.
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