So You're Thinking of Studying Again?
Building Your Career in Pursuit of a Long Term Passion
"Should I study again?”
“I’m not liking my career path. What should I do?”
“What if I’ve made the wrong decision?”
“How will I be able to manage my time?”
“What if I’m just wasting my money on another degree?”
“What if my career path doesn’t work out?”
Most recently, I’ve been asked plenty of questions including the ones above regarding post graduate studies and the surrounding doubts of enrolling yourself into another degree while working full time or part time.
Let’s F-ACE It, most of us have considered going back to university again to pursue more knowledge in an existing area that we’re passionate about or you’re going back to university because as a person, your interests have changed - and so has the industry you envision yourself working within has changed too. Firstly, I want to put a disclaimer that this blog post is not intended to persuade anyone to enrol in a degree. This is a post that will help you get insight from someone who is currently studying part time and working full time (me), and therefore should be a decision that is completely made by you.
To give you context, I graduated with a Bachelor of Business in 2019. As a first generation student, much of my degree was understanding what university was. It’s quite interesting to look back knowing that there could have been many changes I would have made to be where I would have ideally wanted to be a few years from now. Looking back now, it’s interesting to understanding that:
Studying part-time is not a crime, in fact, this will help you gain practical experience in between and during your semesters. In most cases, this may also accelerate your potential to secure a graduate position even before the expected date of your graduation. So if there is anyone who rocks up in a suit in your class - don’t be astonished.
That doing a degree won’t land you on your ‘dream’ career path unless you take challenges and push yourself to that extra step.
Participating in various extra curricular activities will look good on your resume, but are or were you prioritising your time enough to build your career? By “build” we mean - understand which career path you want to take?
Building your network from your first semester at university is really important in the long term.
Except, I doubt every student knows what they want to study during their UAC application or even during university itself. Some have a smooth sailing path of having a natural-born instinct of what they want to do whereas others, like myself, have circumstances that have allowed them to see the bigger picture and evolve as a person now that they have been through the experience.
Studying law was never an easy decision, going back to the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) was. I had an immense experience during my undergraduate degree - building my network, being involved in extracurricular activities and having it being my first encounter or glimpse of what the ‘outside’ world was, were the drivers to go back to UTS. As a person, we all find our interests and passion areas evolving - and in my case, that was it. I was craving a challenge. A challenge that would help me advance both professionally and personally as a person - that, I think, is what I have found going back to studying. Law has opened up a new perspective to the world for me - we’re getting cheesy right? But in fact, it’s true. It’s the layer I needed on top of my undergraduate degree to have that extra push to my development. It was the layer of self doubt and not being exposed to what the ‘real world’ was that initially made me decline my desired UAC offers. I have found that intellectual challenge that I have been looking for to pursue. If you would like to learn more about my decision on this or any questions that you may have on this blog post - reach out to me on LinkedIn or to email@example.com.
So why enrol yourself into postgraduate studies? This answer should be up to you.
Going back to university isn’t a negative pivot, it means you’re looking for that area in which you are truly passionate about practising or working within. Whether you want to become a lawyer, a surgeon or a teacher, perhaps you’re looking for something that can help you think critically and help challenge you as an individual?
Firstly, I’ve compiled a few questions that you might want to ask yourself prior to enrolling back into post graduate studies include:
If I were to pivot industries, which industry, industry area and role am I passionate about or,
If I were to pivot industries, which industry, industry area and role am I growing a passion for?
What is it about that particular role in that industry and industry area am I genuinely looking forward to practising or working within?
Next, I’ve compiled a few questions below that would help you to start seriously considering post graduate studies in your current lifestyle.
4. How will I manage my time and stay on top of my class work?
5. How will I manage my time and be flexible with my time to fit in any unexpected circumstances or perhaps expected circumstances - i.e. social events?
6. How will I manage my budget and spending capabilities?
7. Am I considering studying at another university (locally or internationally) this time?
8. Am I going to work part time or continue working full time during my degree?
9. Where in my current path will I need to pivot to gain experience in the industry that I want to be in? Here, we’re referring to “gaining industry experience” as internships, vacationer programs, etc.
10. If you have a side hustle, how will you make time to prioritise that your side hustle so that it can continue reaching an audience?
Lastly, there are two questions that you need to ask yourself. These may sound like a joke, but in perspective, they’re really not.
11. Are you being serious about studying again?
12. Is this genuinely you or is this purely your imposter syndrome making a decision for you?
These are the questions that you should be answering when it comes to getting serious about enrolling yourself into postgraduate studies and these are typically the same questions I have asked my network who have reached out to me on studying again as well.
Typically, there are a few reasons why individuals go back to studying both full time or part time. Key reasons include that:
You’re looking for a CHALLENGE.
You’re looking to make a great IMPACT on those around you.
You’re not looking to work in an office HIERARCHY.
You’re looking to do meaningful work with ONGOING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
You’re looking for career STABILITY and SECURITY.
If you’re thinking of studying again, reach out to your networks. The best advice that I can give is to do even a simple LinkedIn search and introduce yourself to someone who may be in a similar circumstance to you - as in, in my case, I reached out to many full time working professionals and those studying law part time. It also helped that my partner is a lawyer - so getting a literal ‘real world’ insight really helped me put things more into perspective. Of course, this was the perspective I needed before I even had a partner - so there should be no fear on your end to be reaching out to your network.
It took me officially from my HSC studies to understand that I wanted to get into the legal industry. Another point is that it took me ‘officially’ nine months to hit that enrol button - so decisions never come easy!
I hope this article helped you gain a perspective as to the questions you should be asking yourself when thinking of pivoting your career.
If you’re a first generation student or working professional, I would love to hear from you.
If you have any questions at all - please don’t hesitate to reach out and +1 to your network.
You can check out more of our blog posts here or my collaboration with TinyAsk here.
And, if you haven’t already, check out the services that we have on offer at Let’s F-ACE It that continues being designed to help support all students and young professionals on their career building journey.
PS. Why not sign up for our monthly newsletters? We have exciting news rolling up through the next few months and are excited to share this with you all soon.