What would you do? Mature student - accelerate degree or take my time and do it properly

(10 Posts)
SarfEasticatedMumma Tue 18-Aug-15 17:09:26

I am late 40's, work full time in a high stress job and have a 7yr old DD. I am also studying a part-time degree course to allow me to retrain to a more family friendly job (won't give too much away as don't want to out myself).
I am 3yrs through would could be a 4 year degree course, and my grades are beginning to slip. I am struggling with the workload from work, and all of the work needed to do my essays properly, and not seeing my daughter at weekends. I was on track to get a first in the first two years (got mostly A's) but am now getting B's and C's. I have the opportunity to finish after the next academic year, but it means that realistically I will come out with a 2:1 if I'm lucky. I will have to do 3 essays and a dissertation. I am soo tired, and can't motivate myself to do anything. I'm pretty demoralised by my latest marks and am seriously considering slowing the course down a bit, so i can do it properly. It's taken me 20 year to do a degree and I want to do it well. Not sure really how important a first is, but I feel for my self esteem getting a first would be amazing! According to my tutors I could still get one if my dissertation is up to scratch, but sheesh something needs to give. I am still pretty rubbish at essay writing too, that doesn't seem to be getting any easier either, so not sure how I'm going to manage an amazing dissertation!
Any advice?

sarahsnail Tue 18-Aug-15 21:45:50

I'm in my final year and my grades have also slipped this last year, but how I see it is a degree is a degree and no future employers of mine will be asking what I got, just that I got it. Even my tutors have stressed that all I need is to "pass".
If it means putting less pressure on myself and finishing this degree with a 2:2 then so be it, at least it is less stressful this way and I am getting to spend more time with my little ones and not in the library stressing and burning myself out.

Your grades sound like they are fantastic anyway, I would give yourself some credit, don't waste all the hardwork you have done already.

LaVolcan Thu 20-Aug-15 11:29:57

How easy would it be to extend the time?

Last year I was completing an OU degree and one of my fellow students was in a similar position to you - good marks beginning to suffer because of the heavy pressure of his day job. It was a question of getting something in, or deferring to the following year, giving his work stress time to settle, and allowing him to concentrate on his dissertation. He decided to defer, because he felt that just by completing the degree in the normal time, he would have got a pass, but not done himself justice.

My impression is that your heart is telling you that you have waited so long for this, you want to give it your best shot, and lack of time now prevents you from doing so. Would taking an extra year make a significant difference to your future work plans? Only you can answer that, but I suspect that missing a first when you knew you were capable, would always bug you.

IamtheDevilsAvocado Thu 20-Aug-15 12:09:28

If having a first is important - then i would do what you need to get the marks you need.

Is it possible for your employment to become less stressful?

You don't want to be kicking yourself in 5 years time - if all you needed was an extra few months!

IamtheDevilsAvocado Thu 20-Aug-15 12:10:50

Also how is your degree counted? Is it 30:70 towards your final degree?

SarfEasticatedMumma Thu 20-Aug-15 14:53:09

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you everyone, thanks for your replies, have been having technical issues!
Yes I can extend my degree for another two years if I want to, so may decelerate and try to finish in 5 years instead of 4. You're all correct, I would kick myself if I didn't do my best, and a first would mean a bursary for my PGCE which would help. I have really loved this course too, so want to do it justice. Work won't get any less stressful unfortunately.

LaVolcan Thu 20-Aug-15 15:32:48

Those all sound like good reasons to decelerate - and you have the bonus of more time with your DD.

SarfEasticatedMumma Thu 20-Aug-15 15:50:30

She is already showing worrying signs of being able to do without me - I want to make the most of her before she casts me off completely!

LaVolcan Thu 20-Aug-15 20:42:52

By having this discussion, you have helped me come to a decision, Sarf. I am part way through a distance Masters, p/t, and doing a compulsory module which doesn't really interest me, and I have wondered whether to pack it all in. As with your gut instinct that you really would like that first, I realised that I really did want to get the M Sc and would probably be much happier once I got onto the dissertation, so it made me decide to grit my teeth and carry on.

SarfEasticatedMumma Thu 20-Aug-15 22:02:09

That's good to know LaVolcan - I like to have a positive impact where possible. DO IT, DO IT - make me proud smile

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