Studying While Working Full-Time

Even with a full-time job under your belt, many of you may be looking into returning to school on a part-time basis. Whether it’s to change career paths entirely or to help you advance in your current workplace, going to school while still working is a financially secure way to do it.

While there are many statistics and studies looking at the mental health of full-time students who work alongside their studies, the same cannot be said for the reverse combination. However, if clocking in hours of studying after work can be compared to working longer than the standard workday, then we must be cautious of the mental health impact. We have talked about the importance of work-life balance in previous posts, and some researchers have found that individuals who work more than 11 hours a day are at a greater risk of experiencing a depressive episode (Virtanen et al., 2012).

If you are debating taking on part-time studies alongside your full-time work, here are some considerations to consider in your decision-making:

Benefits of Studying While Working Full-Time

  • Greater financial security
  • Already having your “foot in the door” means you won’t have to go through the stress of the job hunt after your courses are complete 
  • Depending on your employer, they may help fund your education if you return to the same workplace

Drawbacks of Studying While Working Full-Time

  • The biggest drawback is that you will have less time. Excellent time-management and organizational skills will be necessary in order to find time for friends, family, exercise and other leisure activities

If you are thinking of taking courses while working full time, talk to your manager to explore options related to funding for courses, a flexible schedule, adjusting your workload, and other resources that might be available from your workplace. 

If you would like to read more about what others who have actually taken this path have to say, check out this open thread from The Guardian that welcomed comments from working scholars.

Are you a full-time employee who is also studying part-time? Share you challenges and tips with us below!

Virtanen, M., Stansfeld, S. A., Fuhrer, R., Ferrie, J. E., & Kivimaki, M. (2012). Overtime work as a predictor of major depressive episode: A 5–year follow-up of the Whitehall II study. PLoS ONE, 7(1), doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030719

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