More Than the Degree

How to manage full-time work and studies?

Areeb smiling in Germany

I had several participants ask me during my Aalto Day webinar, "Areeb, how do you manage work with studies?"

These are the challenges many students face while completing their bachelor's or master's. For most students, the thought process is I will find a job after I complete my studies. For others, they want to enter the job market as soon as possible. 

I am one of them. 

I am not (anymore) able to solely focus on studies. As a growing individual and professional, I value practical experience in the form of starting your own business, working at a startup or improving the skills you admire and will ultimately help you in some way to transform your career. Long discussion, short - I work as a Human Resource Coordinator at Rens, one of the first coffee sneakers brand. 

And YES, I am able to manage my studies in Information and Service Management with my full-time role at Rens. I ensured I was able to do this from July when I communicated my situation to my program coordinator. Since I am a Finnish citizen and have study rights to complete my bachelor's and master's in 7 years, it is possible for me to lessen my coursework for reasonable amount of study periods. This may not apply to you, so please do check with your program coordinator. 

If I was not able to do this would I still continue to work full-time? Probably not. However, it would depend on my course structure and composition. 

My closest friends enrolled in various other master's programs are currently working part-time. They have a scholarship commitment, thus they are required to finish their studies within two years. 

Therefore, I would highly suggest to see what is best for you. Review what you want to do in the next two years, where you want to be, etc. Would you prefer to focus on studies and enjoy the student life or would you want to work part-time while pursuing your degree? There are no right or wrong answers. 

Nevertheless, my recommendation for those who want to do part-time or even full-time work is to ensure firstly that the work you are doing is worth your time. If it is something you are unsure about, then you should review your situation. Secondly, same goes for the studies - if you are demotivated to study (because that is what tends to happen when you start earning), then you need to evaluate your actual study or coursework. There needs to be somewhat of a correlation between your studies and work. 

My last advice is to prioritise through extensive communication. You have to let your managers know that you will be taking some time during the week studying or attending webinars. To a large extent, you may have to choose which webinars are important and which can be seen at a later time. 

Your time is valuable. Do not forget that.

- Areeb, first year master's student in the Master's Programme in Information and Service Management

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