Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Memoirs of part-time study (and a few words of encouragement too) - Jess

We’re a studious bunch in the library and there are still a few of us with some thoughts to share about part-time study. Today we hear from Jessica Lawson-Hughes, who works as a Library Assistant in Townhill Library. Jess graduated with a BA (Hons) in English Studies and Art History here at Swansea Metropolitan University (as we were then!) in 2011 and went on to gain an MA in English Literature from Swansea University and a PGCE in post-compulsory education and training from Swansea Met. Jess is clearly a master of time management as she completed her full-time Masters while she was also studying on her part-time PGCE. She’s got some fab tips to offer!

Part Time Study: Make it Work for You
Jessica Lawson-Hughes
So you’re thinking of studying part time but you’re unsure how to manage another commitment?  I say take the leap!  Yes it’s likely to be difficult at times but the rewards will certainly outweigh the sacrifices…  
Employers and educators have long extolled the virtues of part time study.  From an employer’s perspective the skills required to juggle work and study will highlight values of commitment and an adeptness at time management, whilst educators tend to welcome the wealth of life experiences part time students bring.  With an increasingly competitive jobs market and potential applicants more highly qualified than ever before, gaining that extra qualification can really help you stand out from the crowd.  In terms of both personal and professional development the sense of achievement attached to acquiring a new qualification is unrivalled.
Having just finished studying for a part time qualification myself I understand some of the apprehensions part time students face: at times it can feel like you’re juggling anvils, particularly when assignment deadlines draw near.  So here are some top tips to help you maximize your studying potential:
Keep a digital record of your references and interests
You’re likely to read a lot of useful material and if you’re anything like me you’ll soon forget its origins.  Creating a personal blog will allow you to record your references digitally as you browse the web, and build up an electronic database of useful material.  Make the space work for you: your blog needn’t be too wordy, or even look publishable.  This is your space to make as colourful and engaging as possible: think of it as an ideas hub and try including a couple of relevant tags linked to useful web sources, videos and articles of interest.  And don’t forget to share content with your peers, as gaining other opinions on pertinent themes can really help develop your thinking around a topic.       

Check out what the professionals are reading
Have you trawled through the suggested reading list and found little of use?  If you ever find yourself at a loss for research material try looking at what the professional authors are reading.  Most academic authors will include a bibliographical list of their research at the end of their texts and some of these references are bound to yield results. 

Make every day count
When studying for a part time course no day is a write off.  Even days where you’ve not planned to study can be productive insofar as doing something useful.  The trick is harnessing this productivity: be it five minutes spent skim reading that library book that has sat on your shelf for the last fortnight, or a quick mind map of your thoughts around a topic.  Oftentimes the most serendipitous study encounters spark the best results.   

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