Master’s: Balancing work and studies

My name is Natasha and I am currently undertaking MA History – Medieval and Renaissance pathway at QMUL; I also took my BA in Medieval History at QMUL. Additionally, I work part-time for Careers & Enterprise as an Employer Engagement Assistant. Below are my thoughts on working and studying part-time.

Balancing work & studies

After some deliberating, I decided to study for my Master’s degree part-time. I knew that I had to find a way to support myself financially, particularly if I wanted to stay living in London; but I knew that studying full-time and working part-time wasn’t the best idea. I did not see any point in rushing through my studies and not giving it my all as working would inevitably be an obstacle – and even now, balancing work and studies is difficult. It is very important to plan your time wisely: make sure that on the days that you aren’t working, you have a study plan for what you want – and need – to achieve on those days when you are focusing solely on your Master’s. Sometimes this isn’t easy, particularly if you cannot find the motivation, or you have a day where you turn up no results – but persevere and take the time to re-charge your batteries, it is certainly easy to over-do things.

Challenges

Which leads me nicely to the challenges. Trust me when I tell you that your work/life balance will take a real dip. When I am not working, I use my ‘free’ time to study, and this means that I find it hard to stay in contact and socialise with friends and family. This really is something to be aware of as you, as well as them, will feel isolated. But, by planning your time effectively, it is entirely possible to give yourself a few hours off to let your hair down – and this is essential, particularly for your own well-being.

Careers at this stage

The end of your degree comes around a lot sooner than you might think. I cannot recommend thinking ahead enough. Many will have a career in mind when choosing their MA, but some of us are still a little unsure of the best direction to head in. Start thinking about this from the go and tailor your experience accordingly. Try and find a part-time position which will strengthen the skills which you’ll need in the workplace, and do try and find a volunteering role in the sector you are aiming for. Gaining work experience whilst you are studying is really valuable and will pay off.

If you are interested in pursuing an MA in History, click here: http://www.history.qmul.ac.uk/postgraduate-study/masters-study/courses-pathways/ma-history.

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