Studying while working might seem like an impossible task. Nevertheless, the financial control that comes with being employed while you study will be of great benefit as you strive to reach your full potential.
Finding a balance between your working commitments and studies can be a challenge. But with the rising cost of tuition fees and other training costs, maintaining financial control over your future is vital to starting a new career or continuing a successful one. Being able to study while holding down a job can be extremely rewarding, but it requires high levels of self-discipline and a suitable support network around you.
Additionally, the current job market is so flooded with degrees that having work experience under your belt has become just as important. Getting that work experience while you’re studying could push you three or four years ahead of other applicants.
Studying While You Work Made Easy
The emergence of online qualifications and the accessibility of free learning platforms has increased dramatically in recent years. Consequently, the option to study at your own pace has never been easier. One major benefit of studying online while you work is that you can do it from wherever suits you best. All you need is a laptop or mobile phone and a good internet connection.
Moreover, choosing an apprenticeship is an excellent option to ‘earn while you learn’. It combines valuable work experience with an industry-recognised qualification. Our sister site, Employing an Apprentice, has lots of useful information on how apprenticeships can help you accomplish your goals.
→ Visit Employing an Apprentice
Finding Time to Study
It’s a bit of a catch-22 situation: working longer hours allows us to earn more money. But studying gives us a better chance of finding a higher-paid job or a promotion within our current company.
The key, therefore, is to strike a balance between our work commitments and learning. Here are some tips to help you manage your studying whilst working full time:
Acquire a course schedule from your teacher or tutor to enable you to plan your time more efficiently, making allowances for holidays or work commitments. Have a rough blueprint for the duration of your studies but be prepared to make changes when needed.
Keep Your Employer in the Loop
Keep your employer updated on your progress and share your schedule with them. They may be able to provide you with flexible working hours or even workplace mentors to support you with your studies. This will be really useful when it comes to the exam period.
Know When to Take a Break
Schedule breaks and make the most of your free time. It is important to take time away from your commitments and keep stress levels down, otherwise, you run the risk of burning out and jeopardising your future.
Study When and Where Suits You
Create a suitable environment for your studies and consider the best time to dedicate to your learning. Some may find it easier to make progress towards their qualification at the end of the day, whereas others may be more productive first thing in the morning.
Get advice from other students or participants studying with you. Having another opinion is always helpful when bogged down in your work. Moreover, a ‘study buddy’ may also be able to share some great advice on how to balance your priorities.
What are the Advantages?
There are numerous advantages when choosing to study while holding down a career. With multiple study options available to workers, such as online courses and distance learning, there’s never been a better time to be studying while you work.
On top of that, part-time courses are becoming an increasingly popular choice among workers, with the added benefit of flexibility and the ability to self-fund.
Today’s courses are often designed with students who work a full-time or part-time job in mind. This allows them to continue earning a salary while making progress towards their qualifications. Financial support may also be available in the form of grants and government loans, whether you’re studying while you work or studying on the job.
What are the Disadvantages?
Without a doubt, the biggest drawback to working whilst studying is the reduction in your free time. Since you are most likely doubling or even tripling your commitments, having a job during your studies may become a distraction if not handled appropriately.
You must prioritise your commitments, so sacrificing some extracurricular activities may need to take place.
Working long hours and staying up late studying can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns, which will lead to increased stress. This is especially so when exam periods are coming up. Be sure to follow our tips above to help you stay ahead and avoid burnout.
Putting Your Studies to Good Use
Finding a job that will enable you to continue your studies can be a challenge. Nonetheless, your college or university will often have dedicated career advisors who can help you in your job search. They may also have contacts with local employers or work schemes.
The Refreshing a Career jobs board has plenty of job opportunities for people who are studying while they work. Be sure to check back regularly for the latest updates and contact us if you have any questions.
For more helpful advice and guidance for students and graduates, visit our sister site Developing a Student.