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Balancing work and study: how Kat did it

This article appears in:
Study Tips, Time and Balance

Want to study and continue working but want to know if it’s possible? Kat Ferguson-Acompora gives her tips on how she went from completing a diploma to starting a degree and working full time. 

After completing a Diploma in Events, I wanted to expand my knowledge in the marketing field. I decided to apply for the Bachelor of Commerce at Charles Darwin University with a specialisation in Marketing. My Diploma was recognised, so I received credit toward the degree, which means I can graduate more quickly. Completing a Diploma first gave me the skills to confidently study at tertiary level.  

I completed my Diploma whilst working full-time, and although it was a challenge, it was a great way to prepare me to study at university level whilst working full-time. In my experience, working full-time and studying a Bachelor’s degree part-time is not exactly a walk in the park! However, there are a few tips and tricks that I have learnt along the way to help me balance my study commitments around my working hours to make it a positive and rewarding experience. 

Some tips include: 

  • Start with the recommended part-time study load of two units per semester. You can always decrease to one unit, or even increase it to three units once you have established what you’re comfortable with. Study at a pace that suits you; you’ll get much more out of learning that way. 
  • Be prepared before each Semester starts:  
    • Purchase the text books, stationery and any computing requirements early. Don’t leave it to the last minute and risk being unprepared. 
    • Use a planner to keep track of class times, assignment due dates, exams etc. 
    • Use a calendar to work out a daily/weekly schedule for actual study time. For example, 2 hours on Tuesday night for ‘1st unit’ readings and activities, 3 hours on Thursday night for ‘2nd unit’ readings and activities. Plan your study time otherwise too many distractions will get in the way and you’ll fall behind. 
    • Organise your student card and computer access. If you’re studying on-campus for all or part of the degree, or have access to a campus for working on assignments, ensure your student card has been activated with Security to access the after-hours computer labs. 
  • Start assignments as early as possible: even if it’s reading articles on the topic or preparing the structure of your essay or report. The earlier you start, the less likely you’ll feel overwhelmed when the due date is fast-approaching. 
  • Ask for help when you need it. There are plenty of avenues to get assistance such as lecturers, tutors and fellow students in your course. I also recommend the Academic Language and Learning Success Program (ALLSP) website for help with assignments and exam preparation. They also offer appointments on-campus or after hours and weekends over the phone/Skype. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions – there are plenty of people ready to help you be successful! 


This article appears in:
Study Tips, Time and Balance

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