Completing a degree while you’re working (how to survive and prosper)

So, you got into the course of your choice at the Uni you wanted. You’ve found a job that’s so routine it will leave heaps of energy for study. And now you’re all fired up to learn!



Well … let me tell you what it’s really like! First up are the challenges that nobody tells you about…

Exhausted from working



I don’t think anything quite prepares you for the feeling of working all day and coming home to realise you have a tutorial followed by a lecture! And that the tutorial marks attendance (10% of your final grade) so you have to go!

Lack of motivation



Maybe for the first few weeks you are motivated and happy to attend lectures, tutorials and do the weekly readings and preparation but before you know it, it feels like a chore.




You sometimes feel not connected with other students, lecturers or the classes. This is both true for online study and being a mature, full-time working student in the lecture room.

Why I am doing this?


So many times, I questioned myself, WHY? Why I am doing this to myself. Especially around exam time!

Not having support from those around you



You can feel like an island as it appears no one else knows what you are going through and you have no one who really understands the feeling of submitting an assignment (on time!).

Here are my tips to help you reach your work and study goals:



  1. Make sure the study is clearly aligned to your goals (and set your goals if you need to), be strict on yourself
  2. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people. Get your friends to say no to a coffee date with you because they know your assignment is due that day!
  3. Breathe – we can’t do it all but we can do our best
  4. Talk to your employer – make sure they know you are undertaking study and understand the ways in which they can support you
  5. Plan, plan, plan! Diarise EVERYTHING – use a big wall calendar and cross off days. Recognise there may be weekends where you have more than one assignment due.
  6. Block out study days and times ahead of your big exams.
  7. Stay Positive!




When you work while you’re studying, you have the benefit of bringing your working-life experience to the table. That often means you bring a different or unique perspective to lectures and joint assignments. And part of this is because you can clearly see links between the theory and the practical application as your lecturer teaches.

You are able write assignments using your current workplace (with permission of course) as the case study. This can save you so much time in preparing and planning for assessments.

Overall, I know the payoff is great. It is so very rewarding to finish and be recognised for what you have achieved. You will be able to use the learnings in your current role to improve efficiency, create sustainable work practices and be a better team member.

I highly recommend that if you are up to the challenge you should consider studying while working! I recently graduated with my Bachelor of Business while working as an Executive Assistant for Windsor Group fulltime. And if I can do it, anyone can.

Written by: Amy Mose, Executive Assistant/Office Manager