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12 Tips on How to Make Your Postgraduate Studies Work For You

Written by Abigael Ibikunle

Higher learning is considered as the best level of education that anyone can get. Studying for a degree takes time, especially undergraduate. Even as such, this is a good foundation for the student to manage his studies even after he graduates. An undergraduate degree allows the student to get employment or start the journey of his career, leaving room for advancement later.

As one continues with their professional journey, there comes a time when they have to go back to school, albeit part-time and study something that will guarantee them advancement in their job. It could because they are looking for promotion or something else.

Going back to school while working can be a hectic affair. The postgraduate degree requires one to have excellent skills. This is in order to balance the multiple deadlines and assignments, as well as the requirements of their day job. It can be hard at times, and the student must learn how to solve his problem. The best thing is to ensure these studies work for you. Your time management skills have to be on point so that you do not lose on one end while gaining on the other.

Striking a balance may be hard, but it is the only way you can manage your postgraduate course. If you are considering going back to class on a part-time basis, then you need to know how best you can manage your studies. If you are working, you have to decide the best way to approach class work and the assignments that come with it. This is a big step to take, and failure is not a risk you are willing to take. The following tips would help during your studies.

Pick a subject you are passionate about
You need to pick something that you are passionate about and will enjoy reading. However, there is a catch. You need to step back from the subject and view it from an impartial perspective. You have to be critical with the work because this is a postgraduate degree you are pursuing. For instance, you need to be in a position of custom dissertation writing on any subject of your choice without favoritism. Remember that bias is a scourge in the academic world and more specifically, postgraduate studies. You need to be sure that you can critique any work within the course in which you choose to pursue a postgraduate degree.

Get ready for copious amounts of reading.

Postgraduates have a lot to do with reading, especially around your subject. You need to be sure that you can embark on an extensive reading. And that you can go down avenues that you find on your own. In most cases, you will be working independently. So, you have to find new and better ways of doing things differently. For instance, when you are planning for your dissertation, you have to pick a stance and come up with a few points for you to investigate. As you do this, you will discover new ideas that may not have been obvious previously. You need to be ready to read as much as possible.

Give yourself a head start on your reading
At postgraduate level, you need to give yourself a good head start on reading because it puts you ahead of the game. Remember you are trying to have a good balance of other responsibilities. And most of the time, you will be busy. Create time to start reading ahead as you get used to the language and study skills necessary for your course. Reading a little will help you, and you get a grasp of the concepts that await you.

You will also be tacking terminologies and vocabulary that you may not have heard hitherto now. In other words, you do not want to start your postgraduate course unprepared. This is something you will be proud of as time goes by. Your studies will not take you by surprise as one may think. This means that you need a good head start through reading ahead.

Formulate an effective plan and stick to it
Now that you are going back to school, you will have competing priorities. As a part-time student, you have responsibilities in your professional life. And this move to pursue a postgraduate degree comes with its obligations. How do you navigate such a situation? Scheduling effectively becomes essential because you are switching mindsets. You are always moving from home to work, then later to class. You have to figure out different ways that you can save time. Your studies are essential, and so it is your job. You need to pay bills and school fees, making it hard for you to drop one thing for the other.

Planning is important. You can talk to your boss about your idea of going back to school. So that you can be excused after spending the better part of the day doing your job. If your boss takes personal development in high regard, he is likely to excuse you. He will easily allow you get off work early so that you can prepare for your studies. However, this is not guaranteed, but it is a good starting point. This makes your classes bearable, and you can balance your work and your studies.

You also need to dedicate some time to your family. If you are a family person who is working, you have to create time for your people. Studies may become important, but your family is crucial too. This is why you need to ensure there is a definite plan to which you need to stick for the duration that you are going to be in school. Figure out ways that you can save some minutes. From organizing class projects, assignments, meetings, and so on. This can happen on or before class commences. Take some time to pick a book or two in the library. You also need to think of how and when you are more productive with your studies. If you are a morning person, capitalize on that.

Creating rapport with fellow students and professors
One of the things that will make your studies bearable is the kind of relationships that you build while you are a student. Though this can be daunting at times due to the responsibilities that lie ahead. You need to be in good terms with fellow students and tutors, even if you are heading directly to work after class. If you can socialize with classmates, it would be better. Even if it were over a cup of coffee or lunch on the campus. You are required to know your professors as well as acquaint yourself with various research areas within your department.

If you are off-campus most of the time, try to find time to meet your classmates and even your tutors. This helps you a lot in understanding the people as well as the environment in which you are studying. Remember that you are chasing a goal that not many people find easy to achieve.

As such, you need to make time to build relationships, even if it is a few minutes. It helps a lot because you are not alone. Those are the people you can rely on if things tend to become hard. A postgraduate degree comes with its fair share of vicissitude. But in the end, what you achieve will remain with you for the rest of your life. Build relationships and ensure you interact academically with your fellow students, especially when it comes to collective projects. Professors are fond of giving collective assignments for students. So, good relationships will help you and your classmates work on this task easily.

Decide the best study environment for you
If you are not very busy in your career, you need to identify the best enjoinment that you can use to study. The postgraduate degree demands you to be on your toes and manage your time well. Finding the right environment means getting from work and be less distracted from your reading. Sometimes, the library may work for you because there are minimal or no distractions at all. You will not have classes every day. At this point, you can maximize the availability of a library. Whether in school or a public one within your locality.

Here, you will achieve a considerable amount of progress with your studies. One important aspect here is not to try to replicate what you see your friends doing. What might work for them does not indicate that it will be the same for you. You need to come up with your rhythm and stick to it. If you are working from home, you can have a ‘do not disturb’ sign at the door of your study room. You do not want to entertain something that would throw you off your academic game. And at the time that you are juggling work, family life, and school.

Talk about your work with others
In most cases, independent learning works best at postgraduate level. However, that does not mean you shut people out. If you want to have a good time pursuing your postgraduate degree, feel free to talk about your work with others. You may hate group work, having discussions with peers, friends or even family members may change your perspective.

You need to avoid tunnel vision where you focus too much on a single aspect. This might make it hard to look at the bigger picture, especially if you are miles into your research. You need to get outside your groove and engage with others occasionally. You never know, it might be a way to find a loophole in your theory, or anything else that you have not noticed before.

Create and maintain boundaries
If you are working full time and going to class part-time, you need to have boundaries. You need to draw the line between your professional work and academic work. Even though this is not going to be easy, it is beneficial. You can concentrate on your professional responsibilities when the time demands so. The same also applies to your academic tasks.

You also need to set days that you can spend with you postgraduate studies because the studies are flexible. You can schedule meetings with your classmates for your academic task. If you need to switch to academic mode at a particular time, do it and ensure there are no distractions.

Your employment does not have to suffer just because you went back to school. Try establish clear boundaries between your studies and professional responsibilities. Then, it becomes easier to manage everything. Both instances are beneficial to you, and as such, ensure they are well catered for.

Always be ready to work hard
You are venturing into waters whose depth is unknown to you. You need to be ready to wade through the tides and ensure you remain afloat in both your work and your studies. You might not expect an increase in the volume of activities while you compare undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

Brace yourself, because you are about to have a new experience with your studies. Remember that your career development is dependent on this degree. So, you should be ready to take on any challenge that comes your way. Of course, it is not going to be a walk in the proverbial park. But it is worth everything you have.

Pace yourself
If you want your postgraduate studies to work for you, pace yourself. Refrain from making mistakes of getting into these studies guns blazing. It might be a pace with which you will not keep up. If you are working, you risk the chance of burning yourself out, especially if you do not have a definite plan for your studies and work. You need to figure out what works for you. Be comfortable in both your professional side and your academic side. Establish the best study pace for yourself and ensure you factor in some time to relax.

You can schedule some fun activities to break away from the norms of the class and the responsibilities of your professional life. This will make you have a better perspective on what you want to achieve with your studies. Also with the furthest you want to go in your professional life. In most classes, postgraduate studies are meant to advance someone in their profession, and this is in terms of promotion. It also advances academic life, where they want to further their education. This is because they have a chance. As such, pacing yourself in both instances would prove you good in the end.

Make enough time for your professional life
It is recommended that you take your professional life as another module. Even though you are postgraduate students, there are many opportunities for you out there. So, do not think there is no time for your professional life. You can work on your career development in the evenings or weekends. You can also dedicate time, day, and a weekend per month, to look at other opportunities out there. Check the applications and interview chances, even as you continue pursuing your academic goals. This ensures that even if you are in class, chances are not passing you by out there.

Look ahead
If you are a part-time postgraduate student, it would be very useful for you to look ahead, ask your full time friends about the modules that are there. You also have a chance to see them go through the dissertation writing process first. Which means you can benefit from their experiences. Still, do not plan too far in advance but ensure you first have your interests in order. This will help you to gain the additional experience necessary for your studies.

It may feel tough to venture into postgraduate studies when you are still working. However, there is nothing that comes easy in this world. Find a way to strike a balance between your professional responsibilities and your postgraduate studies. The above pointers would help you a lot if you can apply them. If you want to move forward as a student, you need to take this risk. But ensure your studies can work for you at any moment. Go ye and study hard!

Authors

About the author

Abigael Ibikunle

Associate Correspondent at Edugist, Abigael Ibikunle is a Mathematics Education graduate. A professional Journalist and a passionate writer. She can be reached via: abigail@edugist.org/+2347035835612

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