I have two Batchelor of Science degrees, two Masters, two diplomas and a PhD. For all but one of the Batchelors I was working and for all but one of these, I was working full time. I can tell you that studying and working full time is tough. I had to work to pay the bills and eat and also to pay the tuition fees. It can be done but it is tough. Would I do it all again? Yes, I would.

If you have a family then you will need to get support and understanding from other people. It would be useful to work out how much more you might earn with the new qualification or what else it might help you do in your practice. This will help in your justification to the people you need support and understanding from.

It’s important to understand that time cannot be made. Not matter where people live each day has the same 24 hours, each hour the same 60 minutes, and so on. Time is fixed and is not something that can be manufactured or created. What you can do is use the time available differently.

If you want to study while working full or even part-time then you need to make some choices about your use of time. Here is what I did to get my five degrees and one diploma.

One of my Masters degrees is an MBA. I had two three-hour classes per week in the evening 6 -9 pm. This meant the classes didn’t interfere with work and at the time I didn’t have a family. I went to every single class for two years. I took holiday time to complete assignments and prepare for and take exams. For those that have a family you need to accept that the family will miss out during the course so you need to work out if the family will benefit after you have completed the course.

My PhD took five years to complete. They usually take three to four years. I took days off from work to gather data and wrote my thesis in the evenings after work.

The diploma, in binocular vision, was all self-study. There were no classes, just a syllabus. I took days off from work for exam preparation and for the written and practical exams.

The other Masters is in Education and I attended classes during work time but made up for the lost work time in the evenings, preparing reports and assessing other people’s work. Again I took holiday time to complete assignments. There were no exams for this.

Every qualification had the following in common:

I went to every class that took place.

I completed every assignment on time and passed every exam.

I went to bed earlier than I used to, 11 pm rather than 12 am, and woke up at 6.30 am instead of 7.30 am. I used this hour to study. I did this seven days a week every week. I had seven hours per week.

I reduced my TV viewing time by two hours per day and used this time to study. I did this seven days a week every week. I had 14 hours per week.

I reduced my time online by one hour per day and used this time to study. I did this seven days a week every week. I had seven hours per week.

I had a 30-minute train journey to work. I used this time to think about my studies or read short articles related to my work or review my lecture notes. I did this five days a week every week I had five hours per week.

By doing this, I was able to use 33 hours per week differently. I chose to use that 33 hours to study.

One last thing. I did something to progress my studies every day. I had and kept momentum. This is the key. Do something every day and keep the momentum. You will see your work build in front of your eyes.

For both of my Masters degrees I received Distinctions. I am not super clever, but I am determined and self-disciplined and I make a good case to the people that I needed support and understanding from. Yes, I missed out on some things and some of those involved family but it has put me a position where I am better able to provide for my family now. It is tough but it can be done. Good luck.

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