The Life of a Working Student

  • Posted on: 12 June 2018

It has definitely not been an easy ride so far. Studying and working at the same time is exhausting. Grinding to the bone. I just completed my first semester exams for a three-year course, and what a relief it is to be able to breathe again.
I went back to school this year in order to strengthen my skills and abilities in my field of expertise, and for the next three years, I will have to endure the exhaustion and stand strong against the challenges I have been facing for the past few months.
Am I ready? Mentally yes, but physically the challenge seems to be just as harsh as it is psychologically.
I am studying by distance, because I simply do not have the time to attend classes every day after work. Imagine that. Assignment after assignment, test after test and activity after activity – it just never stops.
Doing it this way is not for sissies, that's for sure. If you want things easier when it comes to studies, do it full time, I think. Life seems to be more of a mess most of the time when you live this work-study life. Work responsibilities certainly don't diminish when you take up studies and there is absolutely no short-cut in achieving the required marks to pass.
So basically, you instantly live a double life.
To those who are finishing high school this year, if studying is part of your immediate future plans, do it full-time. Forget about working for now and rather focus on successfully finishing that degree. Put your full attention on your studies. Working and studying at the same time is torture! Take it from someone who often has to sit up until the early hours to complete an assignment due the next day, and still be at work too. Just to repeat the same cycle over and over.
Where is the time to sleep? Not much of that to go around. As much as you plan to do your assignments way in advance in order to avoid the last minute drama, life – or at least my life – is a constant rollercoaster which makes finishing projects ahead of time difficult, to say the least.
It's a mess and I am starting to accept that this is how it'll be for the next three years.
With full-time studies, you have the privilege and benefit of classes, where I believe you gain most of your knowledge – 80% of what you remember in exams come from what you learnt in class.
While I do have classes, it's not for all subjects and only on Saturdays and vacation school. It just never seems to be enough to cover everything in the study guide and to prepare you solidly for exams.
Most of your knowledge comes from research which is done by yourself. And that's where the other challenge comes in. Finding the time to do research while working full-time in a career that literally demands 24 hours of your life is tough.

I have dedicated myself to attending all classes made available to me over the weekends and during school holidays, and I am so happy I did because I can tell you now that attending those classes contributed a great deal to my success in my studies so far.
I can understand why not many part-time or distance students make it to the end of their courses. Your life gets turned upside down – it seems like you don't have much of a life any more.
It's a challenge but it is not impossible, especially if you are willing to sacrifice fun times, TV and sleep! Study groups (if you are lucky), late night assignments and an over-worked brain become the order of your life.
To everyone else having a break right now before the next semester, enjoy it! Relax as much as you can. Catch up with friends and family because when the next semester kicks off, all those things are moved to the backseat.
Till next time, cheers!; @faolivier20 on Twitter

• Francios Olivier