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Is part time MA and part time work achievable?

(6 Posts)
TheRustOnTheRazor Wed 14-Nov-12 12:31:31

I am hoping to start a course next September. I've been accepted, deferred entry until then, but would have to continue working (as per most students!)

I started a thread in chat about this but then thought I might benefit from other student parents' view points.

It would be a part time MA. So not massive taught face-to-face time.

How do you manage? My life seems to be full up already- how on earth do you cope with studying on top too?

Itwillendinsmiles Wed 14-Nov-12 14:13:45

The answer is in planning and prioritising. Do a realistic 'timetable' of your commitments already and see where you can slot in the study - both face to face and independently. Obviously you won't know your actual timetable yet but it's a useful exercise and the result will either be reassuring or otherwise!

Accept that housework, socialising etc will have to take a back seat until the holidays when you'll catch up. Simple changes like menu planning and shopping online if you don't already can make a big difference and if your children are old enough then make sure they're helping out. If you've got family support locally so much the better but it is quite possible without.

Good luck!

slug Wed 14-Nov-12 15:06:46

Yes, absolutely. I did my MSc part time while working 4 days a week and I had a 2 year old when I started.

I found it worked for me by compartmentalising my life. i.e. work was work, home was home and school was school and the 3 didn't mix unless absolutely necessary. I think the only time they did was when we had an OFSTEAD inspection at work and I remember writing context sheets to go with my lesson plans while I was waiting for help in the lab. I would do some work at home, but it tended to be done at 3am when I couldn't sleep anyway.

I got on by, as far as possible, not engaging with the social side of university. I treated it like a job in that when I arrived I worked for the whole time, taking only the bare minimum for breaks. I would also have Saturday mornings scheduled as study time. DH would take DD somewhere interesting and I would head into the library (less distractions) until 2pm ish. I'd then meet them somewhere and we would spend the rest of the day together.

Utilise any technology you can. Most universities now days have virtual learning environments where your course documents and content will be made available. If you can, download readings onto a Kindle and read them on your way to work (if you take public transport that is) try recording lectures and listening to them at odd times. And, daft though it sounds, it's amazing how much time you can save by simply being prepared. I was, quite frankly, amazed when I did my last degree that apparently I was the only one who had done the readings and downloaded the lecture notes before lectures. So I sat in the lectures fleshing out the bare bones of what I understood while my classmates were still struggling to understand the basics.

And finally, it's been said many times but, mature students typically do far better that younger ones. Partly that is because they are organised and partly they understand that sitting drinking coffee with their friends is not the path to high grades. Good luck.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 17-Nov-12 10:20:51

Exactly what has been said already. I am doing a BA, have three little ones, a hectic part time job and various school related responsibilities, plus I do engage in uni social life. This term has been a struggle but you just have to be very strict with your time, if you allocate the time the use it. If I study at home, I end up putting Washington, having a bath etc so the uni library is fabulous. Online journals are really useful as well as the VLE already mentioned.

Basically organised on an hour by hour basis making sure you have both downtime and family time.

Good luck.

giraffesCantLightFireworks Sun 18-Nov-12 13:53:40

I work 4 (long) days a week, volunteer for ChildLine and am doing masters now....have only just started though!

BranchingOut Sat 24-Nov-12 12:20:06

I am doing it at the moment.

My approach is that I am just doing it one chunk at a time - a module per term. I had just started back at work three days per week and when I started my two year old was not going to sleep before 9.30pm, so evening study was a bit tricky! My DH also works long hours, so I can't necessarily call in his help for childcare. I have also been doing another (not academic) training course alongside the MA. So it felt like 'enough'.

What does help is that there is lots of overlap between my work and the course topic, so sometimes I have been looking something up for work and it has also been very relevant to my course.

To study and get assignments done I have tended to use annual leave from work, plus the odd day of extra childcare from my lovely MIL.

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