Mieke: How to juggle full-time study with your first real job

Mieke Koorts
Mieke is currently completing a Bachelor of Communication and Media (Marketing) at USQ. Although Mieke began her course on-campus, she was recently offered a graduate placement, which compelled her to study externally. In her free time, Mieke enjoys catching up with friends and family, travelling at home and abroad, and indulging her passion for tea.

Like most students, my initial experience of university involved juggling coursework, exams and part-time employment. Don’t get me wrong, my time on-campus was incredible! I learnt many valuable life skills and have made some wonderful new friends.

However, after two years studying on-campus, I soon felt eager to join the workforce and earn a full-time wage. I decided to apply for undergraduate roles – and with a combination of good research, good timing and good luck – I landed my dream placement as a Junior Marketing Assistant at House Call Doctor. In the six short months that I have been part of the team, I’ve been fortunate enough to gain experience in community outreach, social media, SEO strategies and content writing – amongst other things! At times though, juggling full-time work and study can be challenging.

If you’ve got itchy feet and are keen to enter the workforce sooner rather than later, here are my top 3 tips for juggling work and study:

  1. Find an employer that support your studies
    I would recommend searching for graduate positions and other entry-level roles, as these jobs are generally designed to facilitate educational commitments. I still have 18 months remaining to finish my degree, and on occasion I need to take annual leave for exams and assignment due dates.

    As my role is effectively a graduate placement, my employers have been very understanding of my university needs. Support from your boss, co-workers and family alike is all critical to successfully balancing both work and study.
  2. Stick to a study plan and manage your time
    It might sound obvious, but time management is crucial! Develop a study plan that works for you; this might be depicted on a calendar or in your phone, but the key is sticking to it. Your study plan should encompass upcoming exam dates and assignment deadlines at university; along with your employment targets and set goals.

    A study plan should accurately reflect your lifestyle. For example, if you’re not a morning person, don’t schedule your study sessions for early in the day. Some level of flexibility in your employment can also make juggling work and study more achievable. For instance, certain employers may enable you to work from home during exam blocks.
  3. Choose a course that works for you
    After successfully gaining full-time employment, I immediately changed my course from an internal on-campus delivery, to external online studies. I made this decision to prevent burn-out, and because I can’t realistically be in two places at once!

    Other students might have different preferences. Everyone is unique, but the trick is finding a course that works for you and suits your lifestyle. If you need support or want to change your mode of delivery, don’t be a hero – speak to your course coordinator or your assigned Student Relationship Officer.
The trick is finding a course that works for you and suits your lifestyle.

Ultimately, USQ is here to help students prepare for real-world experiences and employment. I would absolutely recommend pairing study with employment in your chosen field. Working in marketing has allowed me to pursue my passion and further my career aspirations, before I even graduate!

For more information about how to prepare for a successful career while you’re at uni, read Senior Career Development Officer Rebecca’s advice.


Related:

Andrea: The uni student juggling act

The ultimate guide to balancing study with your career

Veronica: The power of work-life-study integration