Part-time studies is really hard

I started my part-time studies in January, 2019. It is now April 1st, 2021. So, I get to label myself as a “3rd year student” today. Hopefully, with enough luck, I get to complete my studies by June, 2022.

I am already looking forward to grabbing my degree and experiencing a world of difference afforded to said qualification-holders. For a long time, I waddled through the working world with only a diploma. I know, I know. “Only a diploma?” I hear you say. While education is important, when put in the context of Singapore (and most of the world, really), that paper counts. A degree absolutely matters when you consider salary differences between a diploma-holder and degree-owner. This is clinical pragmatism the way I see it.

Who knows how much more savings I would have accrued, had I jumped straight into a private degree right after completing two years of national service? I might just be sitting on a mountain of cash from the looks of it.

But, I digress. For those considering part-time studies, this needs to be said: Part-time studies is really hard. If your job has you exercise creative and lateral thinking all the time, job burnout is absolutely a thing that you may experience. For others who work jobs that require consistent mental and physical load, I feel you.

Nevertheless, juggling studies and work is really, really challenging. While nobody solicited my advice yet, there are nuggets of wisdom to be delivered:

  1. It is perfectly fine to not jump into university after securing your diploma or what-have-yous. Work a job for a few years. Use the time to think and triangulate your interests. (See point 2).
  2. Spend time to figure out your likes and dislikes. Take it slow, and understand yourself. Whether 1 or 10 years, the time spent to understand yourself is absolutely worth it. What drives and motivates you?
  3. Attend open house events in the universities. Talk to the lecturers, professors, and heads of programmes. Seek advice and opinions on career pathways.
  4. Study something that you have interest in! It is glaringly obvious when students churn in sub-par work owing to a lack of said interest.
  5. When you do enrol yourself into a university, put in the time and effort in your studies! If you are paying for your studies, you may as well give it 100.13% effort.
  6. Recognise that the journey will be challenging. Part-time undergraduate studies is a different game. Set aside “work life balance”. It’s easier said than done for sure, but you must absolutely partition time for studies, research, and academic work. Your social life can and will take a hit.
  7. For Pete’s sake, strive your hardest to learn and write academically. Your essays should not read like an opinion piece published in a tabloid. Using simple words is okay. Essays that follow grammatical rules are a joy to read. Your prof will thank you. The grammar angels will praise you in your sleep too. The tooth fairy will reward you with cold, hard cash when you wake up in the morning. You will be revered and remembered as a grammar legend.

For all you peeps working in the day, studying at night, and writing essays on the weekends: Hang in there! If you are considering part-time studies, I hope this post helps!

P.S. I will dedicate another post when I take up a Masters. Do I enjoy inflicting pain on myself? Time will tell. Until then, see you!

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