Balancing master’s degree and working full-time

What I learned while balancing work and a master’s degree

I always thought that studying while working was insane. And I don’t even have children yet. But somehow, last year I enrolled in a second master’s degree while working full-time and also having a few side projects.

That’s why I’m sharing some encouragement with everyone out there who’s thinking of doing the same or something similar, and wondering how it will all play out.

Important vs ‘urgent’

I belong to the overachiever squad. In my book, this is both a blessing and a curse, because we tend to want to do it and have it all, and in perfect conditions, might I add. So, I’m used to looking at every little detail until it’s perfect. But when there’s not enough time, you must let that go. And it is painful.

With time, you learn that not everything has the same level of importance (such as having perfectly formatted documents every time). And not everything that’s urgent, is important. Pick your battles.

Set priorities – focus on what matters

Following the idea explained above, don’t be tempted to take on a task just because it’s available. I used to jump at the chance of doing extra activities at work or enroll in free online courses to learn new skills. Well, not anymore. 

Although all those things were extremely valuable to me, I reached a certain point where I either gave my attention to my job, schoolwork and my sleep, or to another whole different combination of things. At least until I had finished my classes.

“Learn to rest, not to quit”

There are days when you want to throw it all out the window; especially when work piles up and you get tired of your routine. Of course, you push through and keep going. But it’s important to rest and take time off. Occasionally at least.

Taking programmed pauses works well for some people. It’s something to look forward to and it allows you to be in a better mental space. Sometimes, waiting a little longer to deliver something or renegotiating a due date at work is the answer. And of course, sometimes you’ll have to do a week of all-nighters. It’s a balance, like going to the gym and eating junk food, or eating salads and not moving from the couch. 

Having fun

Overall, learning is fun! It’s important to not forget to enjoy what you’re doing and soak up the experience. Even if it might not seem fun at that moment, you’ll miss it. It’ll push you to new places and allow you to get to know yourself and your abilities better.

Finally, getting that diploma and knowing you had to work extra hard for it will be far more rewarding. So, would I recommend combining these activities?

All the way!

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