There are a few things you should consider when studying for a degree whilst working full-time.
Are you studying online or are these classroom sessions?
Can you schedule your own study time?
How much time do you have to study?
There are many people who have a young family, a demanding job, and many other responsibilities. As you know, studying isn’t just something you do on the side. It takes serious effort and attention. That is why it is very important you read along if you are considering to get a degree whilst working full-time.
taking online classes while working full-time
One of the greatest advantages of being an adult learner these days is the option to take online classes. Just 10 years ago, you had to get your classes in a physical room at a time your university or college gave you.
This was often difficult to do for full-time working adults. And even if you did, you probably came home late on a weekday. The mornings after class were difficult with you feeling tired.
These days you often don’t have to attend in-person classes. You simply watch (recorded) online lectures and take notes from your own home, at a time you want.
This enables so many people to work on earning a degree!
The best thing about this is that many degrees can be achieved without even investing tens of thousands of dollars! More and more academic institutions are putting their courses online. And don’t think these free courses don’t add value. More and more big companies are looking for people with skills and knowledge, rather than a full degree that costs $100,000!
Here’s what Kent Walker (senior Vice-President of Global Affairs) wrote on Twitter, discussing their 6-month career certificates vs 4-year degrees:
"In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles."
Isn’t that wonderful! And it is not just Google doing this. Other companies are also looking at online certifications differently. This makes getting a valuable degree so much more in reach of all people. Basically, the only thing you currently need to get a degree is internet access! (long live the information economy 😉 )
But is the future only looking bright? Let’s have a look at some of the challenges...
Working and studying at the same time is full of challenges
Let’s not talk about all the challenges in detail again. You know and probably experience most of them. For example there is limited time, too many pages to cover, online lectures to take, exam preparation, and many more things limiting you to study properly.
Fortunately there are 3 things you can do to combat all the challenges accompanying studying while working. These are improving your study skills, planning your study time, and taking advantage of every moment you can to study.
Plan your study time
Start with planning your study time. Literally plan when you will be studying. Put it on your calendar. By doing this, you know when to study as well as the people around you know you will study.
Also schedule your “down time”, that is the time you would normally don’t do anything else. I did this by studying early in the morning. Using the first 30 or 60 minutes of your day is a great solution for studying more. The other people in the house are still sleeping. You can study without getting distracted.
The beauty is that you start your day strong! Even if you don’t study during the rest of the day, you still can say you studied!
Improve your study skills
Think back at when you were in school. Did you learn to read smarter (not only faster)? Did you learn to take good and clear notes? Were you introduced to memorization tactics? I guess you never did anything like this…
And did you learn any of these very important skills after you left school? Or was there not really a need for you to do so?
Since you are studying now while working, or you plan to do this… study skills are important. Fortunately, these skills will also help you in other areas of your life. We live in an information rich society. The skills to manage your information is crucial!
Develop reading, note-taking, and memorization skills. Yes, they are skills. That means everybody can develop them! Just learn to read a little faster every day, and you will be amazed how much faster and better you’ve become in a month, 6 months, and a year.
Join the Studying Made Easy community to improve your study skills.
Take advantage of every moment
This is something most people don’t do when studying. They only study when sitting at their desk. My advice… don’t limit yourself this way. Change your perspective. Especially these days, you can study everywhere. Watch online lectures, go over your notes, take a microlesson when you have a few minutes to spare.
You can literally have your online education in your hand. Whenever you can, take out your phone and go over some notes or watch a short lecture.
Doing this a couple of times per day, you can cover a lot of study material… without making it feel you study a lot more.
The best way of doing this is using the concept of microlearning. This will help you a lot in your daily studying.
To conclude: can i study while working full-time?
Yes, you can definitely study while working full-time. It does take some work and thorough planning. You probably need to improve your study skills. This way you can cover more study material in less time.
It will be tough, cost a lot of energy, and keep you away from your usual family and friend events. But in the end, it will be worth it!
Fortunately, you have a clear motivation and drive to achieve this goal. You know why you are doing this and what you will gain.
My thoughts are: start small, enroll in one class first. Next, improve your time management and study skills. Outline your study materials in such a way you can manage them easily.
Doing all of this may sound like a lot of effort. I’m not gonna lie. It will be at first. But after doing this, you will have a system that allows you to study while working full-time.
(and if you have any questions… let me know. I am here to assist you as much as possible)