Working life is tricky. Trying to further your studies while working is an even bigger challenge. I myself am not currently studying while working so I decided to turn to those who have first hand experience on the subject about what it really means to work full-time while balancing your studies.
I spoke to 3 young women who are working full-time while pursuing their studies to find out just how they manage the work-school balance.
Selloane Chaoane, Acquisition banker
Studying: Medical degree pre-requisite courses. These are part-time, with afternoon lectures (once/twice a week)
Why you decided to pursue studying while working: I want to pursue an alternative career in medicine.
What has that journey looked like: Daunting, challenging but exciting. It is a lot of work! The workload and hours required are a tad insane. Too exhausted to study because of work..so I live on energy drinks (Monster is my friend)
What have been you biggest lessons in doing this: Passion surpasses everything. It all depends on how badly you want and what you’re willing to sacrifice.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to or currently studying while working: Remember why you started and always keep the end goal in mind. You may be discouraged and disheartened but always keep the faith alive… and stock a lot of energy drinks!
Melissa Kamoran, Business Analyst
Studying: FTI business analyst diploma. It is a part-time course with lectures every Tuesday evening. The course runs for a period of 8 months.
Why did you decide to pursue studying while working: I think we always have to learn and challenge ourselves to achieve more. In order to grow my career as a business analyst I needed to ensure that I have the relevant qualifications and foundation to get me there.
What has that journey looked like? It has been tough. It takes up a lot of my personal time. There are assignments due every couple of weeks, together with class homework that needs to be completed each week. The challenge sometimes is working in groups/teams and finding the time to get together to complete class work. It has kept me extremely busy however I feel empowered, I feel like I am learning and achieving a lot. It is a personal sacrifice as most of my weekends go to studying and doing assignments as there isn’t time during the week because of work. However I love being busy and I know that I am working toward a goal and will reap the benefits at the end and this keeps me motivated.
What have been you biggest lessons in doing this? I would say a big lesson was understanding that I needed to sacrifice a lot in order to commit to this. I need to put in a lot of time and effort.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to or currently studying while working? Hang in there and stay motivated! Keep your eye on the end goal! It is definitely worth the effort – it’s a great feeling of achievement once you are done!
Mahali Mantutle, Business Analyst
Studying: I’m studying a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration (PDBA) on a part-time basis, with face to face lectures.
Why did you decide to pursue studying while working? I wanted to broaden my knowledge on business administration from a corporate and entrepreneurial perspective.
What has that journey looked like? I’m married and I’m a mother to a 2-year-old, it has been extremely taxing for my family, basically my husband and my nanny had to be my sons’ parents for this year. Work became very overwhelming because I had to forget about school while at work and only focused on school after work, which time was not always enough but I had to sacrifice a lot of things to make time.
What have been you biggest lessons in doing this? That time is what you make of it. There is more than enough time in the day to do all the things you need to do and want to do, but without prioritising your time; it will always feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to get things done. You too can be a Superwoman by PRIORITISING, PRIORITISING, PRIORITISING!!! Your time.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to or currently studying while working? Have a plan for each day and slot in family, friends, and anything else time, and STICK to it and you will manage just fine.
It’s definitely not easy trying to balance work and school life but often we find ourselves having to do it, whether it’s to improve our skills, take the next step of our careers or explore what’s out there. The recurring theme however is be willing to make sacrifices and focus on the prize ahead.
If you’re currently studying while working, share below how you balance this dynamic.