The work/study/life juggle

Many people are pursuing the ACCA Qualification while working. I was one of these; with the added extra of a young family! Some days, especially towards the end, the pressure got so much all you had to do was look at me the wrong way and I would burst into tears. Friends and family thought I was crazy taking on so much, but I don’t regret it for a minute. The sense of achievement and having my children witness my graduation was the best feeling in the world. I got through a period of some serious juggling, there were three ways that helped me switch between my Mum, Employee and Student hats and these were:

1. Be flexible

Having a full-time job and studying for a professional qualification on a part time basis requires some strict time management skills. I must admit I am much more of a night person then a morning person so I would sit with a coffee about half 9 once the kids were in bed and work through my homework questions or past paper questions. I found the most important thing was to be flexible with myself. Don’t deny yourself all the pleasures of your own time, but ensure you carve out enough study time.

2. Prioritise and be realistic

Be honest with yourself. With so much on your plate, you do not and will not have time to do everything. Decide on your priorities and accept that your life will change for the length of the course. Always keep in the forefront of your mind that this is short term and focus on how you will feel once you have achieved your goal. Honestly, it will be worth it!

3. Manage stress

Easier said then done but it is inevitable that there will be stressful times. The exams are designed to test you and challenge you so you need to be prepared for stress when it arises. Getting adequate sleep, taking breaks, exercising, or eating a massive bar of chocolate to get you through the mountain of past papers; whatever works for you!

The work experience I got whilst studying was invaluable and it’s a route I would recommend. There were times I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but my colleagues were so supportive and understanding of everything I had to juggle that it naturally spurred me to keep going. My family are so proud of my achievements and I would do it all again if I had to!

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