Welcome to a day in the life of a postgraduate student. Get an insight into the warts-and-all challenge of balancing work, study and a social life (remember that?).

Meet Sach, 28. She works as an Experience Designer, designing and building digital experiences on websites. She’s studying a Master of Marketing part-time and in her second of three years.

A typical day

6:30am: Alarm goes off. Ugh. I set it every night for this time with the optimism that I’ll go for a run or to a yoga class. It happens. Sometimes. Today I lace up my shoes and go for a run.  

8am: Cycle to work with a little extra speed as I’m running a bit late. I actually love my 30-minute commute. It’s incidental exercise and gets in the zone for the day. 

9:05am: Made it!

11:45am: First chance I get to check my calendar for what’s coming up this week. I’m forgetful about due dates so I put literally everything in my work calendar. I’m a visual person, and this helps me see how I can fit it all in. 

1:20pm: Didn’t get to finish my readings over the weekend, so have to spend lunch reading them before class tonight. Luckily, work doesn’t seem to mind when they see me printing them all off! 

5pm: Make my way to class. Classes are usually a few hours a week if you’re doing one subject, plus study and assignments. The great thing about studying at the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) is that the classes are usually outside work hours. It’s a real mix of people, too – some working full-time in the industry, others are straight from undergrad, or working in unrelated fields.

This semester I’m doing two subjects – a normal 12-week subject and one shorter, more intense six-week subject that’s delivered in ‘intensive mode’. Intensive mode classes tend to be at night or on a Saturday, so they work really well for my schedule. 

Sach’s top tips to juggle work and study:

  1. Use a calendar to keep on top of deadlines and commitments. Connect it to your email or go old fashioned and stick it to your fridge. Whatever works for you. 
  2. Identify how you cope with stress. To-do lists can be your best friend. Determine each task’s level of urgency and prioritise accordingly.  
  3. Make time for your friends. Friends can offer an escape from study as well as a sympathetic ear if you need to complain about your busy schedule.  
  4. Plan time to exercise. The rumours are true: exercise endorphins alleviate stress and improve mood. 
  5. Don’t feel guilty about not squeezing everything in every day. You’re only human! Each day will always look a little different.

For those considering the juggle, Sach’s experience proves that you can survive and thrive with the challenge.

Why start midyear?

Between enrolling with a smaller cohort of students and getting a head start before the new year, there are plenty of great reasons to apply for a midyear start.

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