Graduation day after three or four years of being in university comes with a lot of pride and joy. No more assignments, no more classes, no more tests or exams.
What a relief!
Well, maybe not. Soon after entering the job market, many graduates realise they need to further their studies.
The job market is constantly changing and to keep abreast of those changes, it’s important to continuously equip yourself with knowledge and new skills.
There are many benefits that come with continuing with your studies while working. One of the benefits is that an even higher qualification makes room for better opportunities in the workplace, which will result in an increase in salary.
IEC reports that in 2016, the employment rate was higher for those with higher levels of educational attainment, such as a bachelor’s or higher degree.
More money, you say? More chances to move up the ladder? Well, that is great motivation for anyone wanting to study further, but choosing to study while working is not something to be taken lightly.
There are certain things that need to be taken into consideration:
It is very likely that if your company is not paying for your fees, you may have to allocate some of your salary to paying your fees. Does your salary give you that allowance, or do you need to take out a loan or get a bursary?
Physical or distance learning?
You also have to think about whether you will be doing a course that entails you attending part-time classes or if it will be via correspondence. For some institutions, it is compulsory to attend classes on weekends or in the evenings. So before signing up for a course, be clear on the requirements. If the requirements are that you need to attend classes, be sure that you will have the time to attend and you even have the means (transportation) to attend the classes.
After having considered the factors above, let’s take a look at how you can successfully manage to study and work at the same time:
Manage your time
If you are going to successfully complete your studies and still stay on top when it comes to your work, you need to manage your time well. The best way to go about this is to make a schedule and diarise. You can even use your cellphone to set alarms for the things that need to be done.
Even if you don’t have assignments due, make it a habit to stick to the times you have allocated to working on your studies. Don’t just relax because you feel your deadlines are far away. The sooner you do the work, the more you will feel in control and your work will benefit. Even at work, don’t put off your work for later just because it’s not urgent. Time flies, and without realising it, you may find that work has piled up.
It would be nice to just watch television or go out partying, but you will need to prioritise. You may find yourself having to say no to some of the things you love and to prioritise your studies. Tell your friends and family that you are studying and working at the same time, so you may not be able to attend certain functions.
Set realistic goals
Your goals are what will motivate you when the going gets tough, but your goals will only be attainable if they are realistic. So set realistic goals, and don’t over commit yourself. Take a reasonable amount of modules.
Celebrate your successes
After every assignment and test you pass, take yourself out or buy yourself something small to celebrate your achievement. This will motivate you to carry on until you complete your studies. But do remember never to be too hard on yourself. If you fail some modules, your failure shouldn’t derail you. Get up and try again.
Are you employed and studying? What has been your biggest challenge? Share with us in the comments section below.