Balancing Work, Study, and Family by Lyn-nor
Being a working student is no easy feat. It requires dedication, determination, and a strong sense of organisation. As someone who is currently working while studying, I can attest to the challenges and rewards that come with this balancing act. Allow me to share my experiences and insights on how to navigate this journey successfully.
I have the privilege of working at Life Without Barriers as a Case Manager in the out-of-home care sector of Community Services. This role allows me to work intensively with children and young people who are in the care of the minister. It’s a job that I am deeply passionate about, as I have the opportunity to assist them in setting goals and achieving the best possible outcomes. The impact I can have on their futures is both humbling and liberating. As a Case Manager, I work closely with the children, their carers, and families to ensure their safety, care, identity, stability, and overall well-being are prioritised. The work we do is guided by the “National Framework for Protecting Children” and audited by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.
Combining work and study has been a mutually beneficial experience for me. My job in the community services industry provided a solid foundation for the coursework and learning in my studies. The practical skills I had acquired over my five years of experience were enhanced by the knowledge I gained from the course. This combination has allowed me to work more effectively in my practice. Additionally, I realised that securing a job placement for the course can be challenging for many. I am grateful that my manager agreed to be my work placement supervisor, recognising the privilege I have in working in this role.
One of the greatest challenges of undergoing studies while managing work and family responsibilities is time management. As a migrant single mother, I do not have the luxury of relying on a support network of family and friends. I had to find a balance between taking care of my family, managing my studies, excelling at work, and finding time for leisure activities. To overcome this challenge, I created a schedule that became my lifeline. I diligently put everything into my calendar, from study time and work commitments to family activities and personal time. This simple tool proved to be a game-changer in maintaining a healthy work, study, and family life balance.
Keeping that balance is an ongoing process, and my calendar continues to be an integral part of my day. I have learned the importance of staying focused on my goals and reminding myself of the reasons why I embarked on this journey. It is crucial to have a clear understanding of what you stand to gain and what you may potentially lose if you lose sight of your aspirations. By staying focused, I am able to persevere through challenges and remain motivated.
Throughout my studies, one key learning has stood out: the value of resilience. Denzel Washington once said,
Fail seven times, get up eight.
This resonates with me deeply. I have faced failures and setbacks in my assignments, but I understood that success comes from getting up and trying again. In moments of difficulty, I rely on my faith and ask myself what lessons God wants me to learn. By embracing each trial, I have come to realise that success is attainable if I persevere.
For those considering studying while working with a family, I offer three essential tips:
Create a schedule and stick to it:
This is the cornerstone of successfully managing your time. Put everything into your calendar, from study sessions to family commitments, and make sure to adhere to your schedule. It will provide structure and help you find a healthy balance.
Remind yourself of your goals and aspirations regularly. Keep your eye on the prize and understand.
Don’t be too hard on yourself:
Have fun while you are chasing those goals. And, if you implement tip no 1 from the above, you will be able to have fun because you would have made time for it in your calendar.