What is it like to work full time and study, you ask? In one word, hard. In three words, sometimes bloody hard. I could just leave it at that really, but that wouldn’t make much of a blog post would it?
I currently work the ye ol’ 9-5 and study part time for a Master’s Degree. I should be honest, there are not many articles or blog posts out there that tell you working full time and studying will be easy, so I cannot claim I wasn’t totally prepared.
Of course, the amount of work that you have to do will vary from course to course. Finding the time to squeeze studying in between work and life in general can be hard in itself; this is where a lot of voices will tell you it’s all about finding a routine.
I do agree in part, finding a routine does help. It does give you a greater sense of control than if you are just trying to add in a study session here and there. Though of course, life does not always fit into your neatly scheduled and colour coded routine. Sometimes you stay later at work. Sometimes it’s a friend’s birthday. Sometimes a family member needs a bit more of your time and support… and there goes the routine.
Whilst successfully managing your time is hard, what a lot of others neglect to tell you about is this: working full time and studying is emotionally hard.
On the run up to deadlines, or in my case the weekends you spend in class (big up the Saturday Class) can leave you feeling caught. No matter where you dedicate your time, a small whispery voice starts telling you you should be spending it elsewhere.
The night you spent studying should be spent with your lover. The night with your lover should be spent studying and visa versa.
The stress of working full time and studying doesn’t always come from deadlines, sometimes it comes from within. And the guilt that starts to tinge the edges of your vision can be hard to shake. It can stop you feeling as present as you’d like, with your mind wandering off to the subject that isn’t the centre of attention tonight.
I’m lucky; I have an incredible supportive and understanding boyfriend. Whenever I get upset and start apologising for effectively abandoning him for three days straight he tells me not to worry, that he’s proud and that he’ll be there in there for my night off. How I got this lucky I’m not quite sure, but it does make it easier.
So there you go, that is what it is like to work full time and study can be hard but not in the ways you expect. When it all seems to be getting to much, just stop. Make a brew, send a soppy text and get some perspective. Studying part time gives you the chance to learn some incredible new skills, and meet people who inspire you.
It may be hard, but trust me – it often feels worth it.