Today I am going to talk about something that has been an all too real thing for me throughout my academic life. If I wasn’t tutoring while studying then I was busting my ass being a barista or working full time while pursuing my Masters – full time as well. Here’s how I did it:
1. Extreme honesty with my employers
I am very very very lucky that while I was doing my masters I had a wonderful boss, namely Will Richman, who was extremely supportive and as long as I did my work, he had no issues with me sneaking in 30 minutes of revisions during the day.
Obviously this was not a daily occurrence.
2. Take evening classes
I chose a program that offered much the same classes every semester but at different time slots so I was able to take them when they were offered in the evenings.
Full disclosure: Yup I did miss a bunch of classes, but as long as I caught up with my readings I was golden.
I have never chased grades, so I don’t really give a crap that I had all A+s. Though I did have plenty of those with dashes of A- and B+s thrown in here and there too. What is funny is that I scored 95% As in my second year of masters when I was working full time and I scored the worst in my first semester when a) I didn’t even take a full course load and b) I was searching for a job. LOL life.
3. Stay focused
This is almost laughable coming from me because I am like this on a good day
aka extremely distracted but hear me out.
By being focused I don’t mean I set aside a bajillion hours for studying. HELL NO! But when I did study, even if just for an hour, that’s what I was all about. No technology.
4. Stop comparing yourself to others. Stop trying to fit in and STOP trying to find study groups.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I made in undergrad. I tried so fucking hard to find study groups and to be accepted.
If you thrive on your own. DO IT! you don’t need a fucking study group.
Bottom-line: Figure out what works for YOU!
5. Use what you know, what you are passionate about or are working on
By the time you are in grad school, you pretty much know what you want to study or enjoy in life. At least I hope you do.
In my second year, I wrote all of my papers about what I was working on at work or was passionate about.
For instance I took a class on history of graphic novels and wrote all my papers on feminists and women in graphic novels. I am extremely passionate about women in STEM and although not directly related, it was a lot of fun for me to research and write on these topics because it is related to my passions.
6. Take a Masters program in which you are really interested
Don’t pursue studies just for the heck of collecting degrees. Study something you are really passionate about.
7. Believe in Yourself
There will be a lot of naysayers, people who stress you out or try to get the better of you. Screw ’em all! You made this decision. You do you! Go pursue all of your fucking dreams!
The result of working while I was pursuing my Masters degree?
Simple: I feel like not only did I benefit as an individual from school but my work life benefitted too.
Oh and also no student loans…
P.S: I get it, not all Masters programs offer evening classes and not all bosses are awesome. Sooooo yeah…