Lifestyle: Studying Whilst Working

I’ve moaned enough about it lately – the early-morning studying, the late-night revision, the spoiled Bank Holidays. I’ve had a lot of questions both on here and on social media about what I’m actually studying for (and even one memorable accusation of me lying about studying as I graduated last year – the dark-side of blogging cliques right there!). And I’ve had even more questions about how I’m balancing working, studying, blogging and (kind of) having a social life…

 photo Working Whilst Studying_zpshvfkalig.jpgWell my personal feeling is that I’m not balancing it. Most of the time I feel overwhelmed. I’ll sit down to study and think about all those unread emails in my blog inbox. I’ll be blogging and think about all the studying I need to do. I’ll feel guilty having some free time. I love my job, yet I’ll want to leave on time so I can do something in the evenings – either study or blog. I struggle to make time to exercise, there’s always something else that needs to be done.

The exams I’m doing are tough. I’m studying to qualify as an actuary – eventually I’ll be a Fellow of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries with some shiny new letters after my name. The exams intensive in terms of both time and content – and only around 45% of candidates tend to pass each exam. The exam I took in April has a recommended study time of 400 hours, with my notes filling 5 level-arch folders. Squeezing in 400 hours to a 6 month period, whilst working full-time, has actually turned out to be quite tough. I am lucky enough to get around a day off a week from work to study, though the response of many of my non-work friends is that I use them for lie-ins and lazy days – I wish! Most of them I’m at the kitchen table by 8am, and generally spend longer working than an average day. Though I guess doing all that in my PJs is rather nice…

Finding The Time

Whilst it is depressing, I find looking at my average day and seeing where I could fit in some study is the easiest way – doing a little bit as often as possible means (1) I’m in the habit of it and (2) I feel more productive and thus feel a lot more prepared and confident. My commute is generally spent reading material – or revising using a study card app nearer to exams. Lunch breaks I like using to do a couple of questions – I’ve found picking a particularly difficult topic and spending 20 minutes working through it is a great way to power through it (plus I’d put off the difficult bits otherwise!). I also like to spend an hour or two in the office after work. I’ll book a meeting room and put my head down – though obviously I tend to only do these for a couple of months before an exam. All year round would probably exhaust me!

If all else fails, I find physically slotting some study time, some blog time, even exercise will make me do it. If it’s in the diary, I’m committed.
 photo Workwear Outfits 5_zpsh6xj6p3x.jpg

Little Hints to Keep Motivated

  • Focus on the end goal. Thinking about when I’m fully qualified, with those extra letters after my name, just helps keep me focused
  • Ignore the pass rates and stats – as they’re quite low for my exam, I find them quite demotivating.
  • Set days for certain things. I like to have Wednesdays as my study leave from work, I like to study Tuesday and Thursday evenings, on Mondays and Wednesday evenings I blog and exercise. And Friday night is fun night – until the fortnight before exams of course!
  • Make sure you have some down time. Treating myself to a magazine and face-mask, or a nice bar of chocolate will always boost my spirits.

And if all else fails, productive procrastination helps!

How do you balance everything in your life?

  • I’m so glad I don’t need to be trying to fit in revision with work right now – although I will do in the not so distant future. Like you, I think I’ll be trying to study regularly, while also making sure I’m not neglecting the rest of my life – downtime is so important! Good luck with the exam when it comes!
    Jennifer x
    Ginevrella | Wellbeing & Lifestyle

  • Dude actuarial exams are super hard – I know a few friends who have done it and I have the utmost respect for them! I can’t imagine doing exams/studying on top of working full time, that’d make me exhausted all the time. Glad that you have a day off to do it though!

    I agree with having set times to do something you like: exercise, reading, shopping, eating! I remember not eating back in uni because I thought I would miss out on revision time (lol) but I switched it up in final year and it worked so much better.

    Cherie ✿ sinonym

  • Wow I have so much respect for you – juggling study and a job at the same time deserves some kudos 🙂 you definitely seem to have the motivation and drive to do it though, keep it up!
    daringtojess.wordpress.com

  • Fiona Call

    Feeling your pain right now with revision and assignments! It’s so impressive what you’re doing, think of the relief when you do pass! I’vehad practically no motivation in the last few weeks of my degree, but I keep thinking I’ve now got two weeks left… and I can collapse and relax when it’s done!

    Keep going!

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