Studying for a master’s degree as a parent is no easy task and today we have a guest post from the lovely Beth sharing her top tips!
As a parent, how many times have you heard ‘well doesn’t life just stop when you have children?’ or ‘your life won’t be your own anymore!’ blah blah blah. Whilst life does CHANGE when sprogs arrive onto the scene, your ambitions and goals should not – they may just need a little fine tuning!
MASTER’S DEGREE AS A PARENT
I just realised I haven’t introduced myself, I’m Beth and I am Mumma to 3-year-old Isla. I am currently in the last three months of my master’s degree in animal welfare science, ethics, and law at the university of Winchester. I’ve been studying this subject and similar since about 2010. What I want to achieve from this blog is to spur you on if you have been toying with the idea of furthering yourself educationally or really in any other aspects of life but feel like you are can’t because you have kiddos.
Flexible accredited online courses are the one!
When you consider getting back into education you may think about enrolment at your local campus, which is fabulous! But for some the physical attendance can create additional obstacles where childcare is concerned, and this may lead to added stress and reluctancy to attend. Fear not, the very iPad/tablet that Karen complains your kid watches to much might be your saving grace (again!)
Many universities and colleges in the UK host a huge variety of courses and qualification in a wide range of fields. Which is great, because it means your options are vast and, in some cases, may even cater to your very specific needs. You can look at any college or university website to see what courses are on offer and what you need for application eligibility.
Each institution will be able to help you with financial advice about loans, bursaries, and grants. This part can be off putting but you don’t have to pay loans back straight away and how much you pay back all depends on how much you are earning after you qualify. You can find more information here (https://www.gov.uk/repaying-your-student-loan). You can also check the government website here (https://www.gov.uk/help-with-childcare-costs/support-while-you-study) to see how you could access childcare support while you study.
Plan, plan and then plan again…
If you’re anything like me, 95% of the time life is totally unmanageable (I assume that’s why gin was invented) and you are needed in about 10 different places for 50 different reasons. However, I have some helpful (you can be the judge of that) suggestions to organise and focus your time.
- Grab an annual wall planner! Diaries are all well and good but being able to see all deadlines, social events and work commitments laid out and how close one is to another is helpful with being able to manage time well. Something like this may be just the ticket (https://www.ryman.co.uk/ryman-large-wall-planner-2021-1).
- Make your daily/weekly/monthly planning as detailed as possible – including adding time for self-care, it’s very important!
- Google GANTT charts and thank me later 😉.
- Colour coding is a life saver especially when needing to recall or double check notes (access your inner Monica!)
- Lastly, there are some amazing apps such as Trello and Evernote for organisation and Forest: Stay focused which really helps with productivity – all of which I have used personally and recommend!
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Work to your strengths
Deciding to take on a course alongside parenting, working and any other full on life commitments can ignite that dreaded mum/dad/parent guilt because the extra time you once had to grab the toddler another banana, meal prep, or re-tidy the living room for the 100th time before 10am may become a distant memory, but it will be totally worth it. I would suggest and I did this myself, before you start your course, write down three positive reasons which swayed your decision to start studying in the first place. Try to remember that not only are you bettering yourself for your child(ren), but you are also doing it for yourself. You will be able to develop your skills in your chosen field, gain the qualifications you deserve to grab those better paid positions in a company, or grow your self-employed business on a stronger foundation and ultimately work a job that you are passionate about. And when those blues, which will inevitably kick in every now and again pop up, just read those three positive reasons, and remember why you started in the first place!
I am always more than happy to answer any questions or if you just want to talk more about the subject pop me a message through my Instagram, my handle is @beeforanimals.
Did you go to university? Have you studied for a master’s degree whilst being a parent?
Thanks for reading and happy studying!