Asked by Anonymous
Asked on 26 Nov 2018
The degree I'm taking will give me the raise I need, but the job I have now is the only thing that is feeding me and helping with my school fees
First thing - what about it are you finding it hard to cope? Financial? Stress?
I’m currently taking part-time Masters in NUS (just for reference on the amount of stress, lol) and working full-time as a professional. Seeing that I’m almost graduating, I think the points below worked quite well and may help you survive alright:
For my programme, I’m expected to take 10 modules in total and complete the programme in no more than 3 years. Having a good spread would mean taking 2 modules for 5 semesters. However, I chose to do it in 4 semesters by overloading 2 semesters with 3 modules. This helped me to save 1 semester’s school fees and also there is a Chinese saying, 长痛不如短痛。The more you spread the your modules, the more likely you’ll feel the inertia to study. The intensity will set you into grind mode and before you know it, the programme is over and you’ve graduated!
If your programme allows you to choose modules, use your first semester‘s results to have a good gauge as to which kind of subjects you fare better in. Take more of those modules, if that is also your interest. The more interest you have in a module, the more likely you’ll want to understand the concepts and hence, fare better at it.
Making (capable) people as friends is definitely beneficial. Project? No problem, just group with them. You can ride the wave (but please contribute, don’t leech!) by learning from them. Individual assignment? No problem, you can consult them or compare answers with them. Additional plus is you won’t be attending lecture alone, how fun!
Personally, I’m bad at this because my job makes me work OT all the time. But studying in advance and regularly gives you time to digest concepts, ask people if you don’t understand and also do practice papers. You’re less likely to to feel last-minute stress, which is counterproductive.
There‘s a Chinese idiom, 先苦后甜. Work hard now to enjoy the fruits later. Be fixated on this and you’ll unlikely fall for temptation to laze your weekends away.
Gathering with friends, holiday trip... Anything that floats your boat. Plan it in advance (during ”school holiday” or at the start of the semester) and you can use that to carrot your way through the semester. With something to look forward to, every semester is more bearable!
Best of luck with it! It’s actually not as scary as you think it is :)
A few points I can think of.
1) like what Eveline mentioned, make friends in class. Whether it is during smoke break, toilet break. Make sure the friend in mind is good, or at least aligned to your style of doing things. If you revise, make sure you ask questions if you do not understand. Best is still ask the lecturer.
2) you mentioned that you need this degree to give you the raise you need. In that case, it is relevant to your work, right? Find ways to apply the things you learnt. You will learn faster this way.
3) unorthodox method, but it depends on your lecturer style. I sleep in class for first 15-30mins. My thinking is this. Should I struggle to listen for 3 hours, or do I forfeit 15-30 mins and gain the remaining time to understand? Need to see if the lecturer allows this or not.
You may want to take 1 module at a time for each term. You may want to check with the University whether this is possible.
I think a good approach would be to set timeables and adhere strictly to it. That means no procrastinating and no time wasting. Make sure you are efficient at work and when you are studying. Ensure that you sleep well and eat well. Health plays an important role too!