To study and work at the same time is becoming a thing these days. Many people who are unhappy with their jobs, and who want to gain new skills, do it. Find out how and why it’s possible to make it happen.
“Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from what you can do” John Wooden
The air rushes through the office space and you wake up from your dismal day-dreaming. Depending on where you find yourself in this current space and time you probably have dreams of some kind. Maybe you’re in a job that you don’t particularly like, but you’d love to explore something completely different. Or perhaps you are working purely to pay the bills and survive the rising food prices.
Either way, there are possibilities to educate yourself further if you’re in need of a knowledge booster, if you want to improve your work ethic, or if you are looking to pursue a new field.
In our current society, it’s become a reality to work and study amidst our busy lifestyles. These days, studying is extremely expensive, especially in South Africa, and finding ways to earn money on the side is becoming a common occurrence. Yet essentially, studying and working at the same time may not be such a bad idea.
‘Yays’ for the Work & Study Combo
Uncertain why work & study might be a great option? Read on.
Develop specialised skills
Studying while you work means you can build on skills you are lacking and use those skills in the workplace. This also gives you an opportunity to build on skills that prepare you for a specific career path you aspire towards.
Gain fundamental knowledge in a specific field
You can grow in whichever direction you choose. Whether you’re pursuing a career that is truly your passion or not – you are still capable of improving yourself in every way possible. It starts with you!
No need to sacrifice your income
Earning money while studying can be an exhilarating feeling and jolt feelings of success. Often people experience a certain liberating feeling that comes with earning their own money – and this feeling is doubled when they know they’ve pushed their boundaries.
Learn how to manage your time efficiently
With the pressures of studying and working you’re bound to learn how to manage your time. You’ll have to if you want to pass your course and still keep your job.
Pushing your boundaries means you’re growing in ways you may not be aware of. Take pride in yourself and build your confidence in the workplace. Self-worth increases when you know more and feel confident at work
“I’m a student with a job” – How do I make time for my studies?
Lack of motivation is one of the main killers when it comes to juggling the infamous studying while working situation. Procrastination comes knocking on the avid student’s door and it takes over more control than you could realise. Here’s how you can stay focused:
- Time management is key. Work on building a time schedule that will help you move along swiftly. Work on your productivity and fill the gaps where you can.
- Stay focused on the end goal. Remember why you are doing what you are doing. This helps more than you can realise.
- Chat to others in the same shoes. You may not be aware of this, but there are many other people working and studying who will be able to understand your situation.
Cool idea for you: Get a big desk calendar and put it somewhere where you can always see it in your room. Seeing the assignment due dates ahead of time helps you subconsciously plan your time.
Short Courses at Oxbridge Academy
Are you looking to study while you work? A great option for people looking to study while working could be to do short courses at Oxbridge Academy. The programmes are short in duration and can take anywhere from a few days to 12 months to complete. Most of the short courses available at Oxbridge are presented as 6-month courses. The courses are done through distance learning, so this means you can do them from anywhere in the world and all at your own pace of study. Score!
If you’re interested in finding short courses to do while working or vice versa, have a look at Oxbridge’s courses.
A short word from Oxbridge Academy: “Short courses give you the opportunity to study your field of interest in a manner that is quick, easy, and very affordable.”
Student Experience and Advice
Shannon French, studying at UNISA and working as a teacher’s assistant:
“My experience working and studying has been a rollercoaster. It is quite hectic, as I need to fit everything in and never seem to have enough time. I work as a teacher’s assistant and I am studying teaching part-time. So I work normal school hours but still coach hockey afterwards and then sometimes only get home after 17:30h or 18:00h in the evening.
When I finished school I never knew what I wanted to study, so got myself a job and got used to earning some sort of income. That is why I decided to study part-time, as I was already used to earning a salary.
My advice to other students who study part time as well would be to maybe get a half day job which enables them to study the other half of the day and get whatever needs to be done, done.
Another thing would be to remember what’s most important. Money isn’t always what’s most important. I don’t earn much, but where I work, is where I need to be, especially because it’s in the field in which I’m studying (I’m gaining experience). I could very quickly leave and get a job that will pay me way better, but I won’t. I feel this is where I need to be :)”
Robyn Tichauer, studying Journalism at UNISA and working at EduConnect:
“If you really want to challenge yourself and do a journey of self-discovery regarding your motivations – working and studying is the way to go. Achieving good results or even just passing is extremely rewarding, knowing that you work full-time and managed to pull that off. If given the option to study full-time, all expenses paid, I think I would stick to working and studying. I’m proud of myself and I’m achieving my goals while having the freedom full-time work doesn’t allow.”
Tahila Pimentel, studying Masters at the University of Cape Town and working at Gender Dynamix
“I have been working and studying for the past year, and it was one of the hardest but most rewarding decisions I have ever made. I started my Master’s degree in African studies in January and started working as a research intern for Gender DynamiX in February. I had classes twice a week and worked the remaining three days of the week, from January to June 2015. From July, I started working four times a week as a researcher in two NGOs, and had classes once a week. Sometimes I felt that I would not be able to cope with the workload, but a couple of things kept me going:
• I was sure about my decision to further my studies, and I was truly interested in my courses.
• Supportive partner that believed in me even when I didn’t.
• Supportive family and amazing friends that constantly reminded me I could do it.
• Understanding lecturers and a very understanding supervisor. Whenever I could not meet a deadline I was given extensions.
• Made time-tables and constantly wrote down my deadlines at work and in school so that I could keep track of my time.
• I was lucky enough to be working in exactly my field of study. So when I was given the flexibility to choose my own topic for projects in school, I chose topics similar to the research I was already doing at work so that I did not have to start from scratch for every project.
• I did my best to remain young and positive, and every time I had time I tried my best to do things and go to places that made me happy.
• I made sure I did my best both in school and at work. The rewards I gained from doing a good job reminded me that I was capable of doing it and to rock it. I made some mistakes and sometimes did not manage my time well, which mostly had consequences on my marks, but overall, I finished the year happy with my results and happy I did not give up.”
What it comes down to is the following: You can steer your future in any direction you choose. Studying and working is possible. You just need to be in the right mindset and keep pushing forward as best you can.