There's the catch about becoming older and wiser – you gain responsibilities. If it's not children, it's parents who require attention, or work commitments, what about passions and interests that need attention?
And on top of this you'll probably have a group of friends who you haven’t seen for eons and that are nearly impossible to arrange to catch-up with. To add to all this demand on your time and attention – you’ve decided to embark on a postgrad program! So, how do you fit this all in along with your postgraduate studies?
Here we take a look at how to balance your postgrad studies with the rest of your life.
Plan, plan, plan
Break down everything you need to do and create some sort of master list for the term or even the year. Include everything you need to do and everything you want to do. Don't forget plans and occasions with family and friends, breaks from your studies and work along with your assignments and essays. Break it down into when you need to complete each task or when you want to do things and start building your plan. Ideally, you'll have it broken down into weekly to-do lists, however, don't spend so much time planning that you never get round to starting on your tasks!
Preparation is key
Start preparations long before you start the course. Have a chat with recent graduates who have just done the course you're about to study, the Alumni Association can help with this. Hopefully, they will guide you as to some of the things they did or wish they had done before they started. Maybe find out how successful they were before doing everything they tell you. Make sure everyone in your life knows that you're about to start a postgraduate course. This will mean they will probably understand if you can't do something you used to and they will undoubtedly ask you about the course, which should provide you with a little gentle nagging to get your work done.
Yes this seems simple, just get the coursework done and avoid procrastination, but it's difficult when you've got lots of demands on your attention and time. Try not to start any TV box sets during term time, and maybe treat yourself like a child by setting a time limit on yourself while you're on things like social media or online shopping. Use alarms on phones and other devices to keep yourself in check and use your spare time wisely. Remember it's not forever, it's just while you are studying.
Part-time or online study
Part-time, online or distance learning can seem like an easier option if you need to keep working or have other important demands on your time. You need to be super disciplined and prepared to be entirely motivated on your own if you are undertaking an online or distance learning course. Alternatively, a part-time course where you attend lectures and meet other students on campus might suit you better, but those new friends will make more demands on your time making it harder to get down to the books.
Different subjects may demand more time
And of course, certain subjects may well demand more from you in terms of time than others, so be realistic as to what you can commit to. Undoubtedly this will not be as markedly different at PG level as it is at UG level – see table below – however be mindful of the fact that if you are studying courses – such as science – you may well need plenty of access to the labs on campus, whereas English will be more flexible in terms of you being able to read and work from all manor of locations.