When I left school, I did not know what I wanted to do (like many others). So I completed a psychometric, which said I would be great as a programmer, so I did a college course. I then started my career as a programmer, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But soon found myself enjoying the leadership roles as well.
Fast forward a few years later and I was retrenched (to be the first of many). Distraught on what had happened as I was thoroughly enjoying my job and learning so much. I started my job search and soon found that not having a degree was a problem when applying for leadership roles. And having never gone to university would mean if I did it part time, I would only get my degree after I was 30. Funny story 30 sounded so old back then!
Getting a degree
But with a swift word from a mentor of mine to just ‘get it done’! I completed my BCom through UNISA (www.unisa.ac.za). While I studied part time, I had a full time IT job which meant I pretty much worked from 6am till 7pm most days. I did not yet have children, but I often get asked how I studied part time and worked full time. The best solution is to do a little bit every day and yes, I lost a few weekends in assignments and catching up when I could not study in the week.
Learn more to earn more
The question is did getting a degree help me to earn more? Absolutely! I was able to find another job while I was studying but once I had my degree, I was able to get more senior roles. My luck I got retrenched again and that time I found a job faster and a better one – was it purely the degree? No not purely, but it got me in doors which did not open the first-time round.
Step it up
After realizing I could get my degree, I decided to get my honours. This time round I did it while running a thriving business, with two small children, being a wife and just to add some fun a pandemic added its head as well. So how did I manage to work 10 hours a day, while being a wife, mother, studying and surviving a pandemic? The answer – The 5AM Club – I woke up at 4.50am each morning and exercised, read, and studied so by the time my house woke up I had me time and study time! I missed a few weekends again when I needed to get assignments in and had an incredibly supportive family who entertained the children when I could not.
Was it easy? Hell no! My husband will tell you I whined a bit as well! Was it frustrating? Yip! And there were even a few tears (when I finished) as I thought now there would be time to get new projects done at work. Unfortunately, that time just got filled with other priorities and exhaustion set in! Seems juggling lots of balls for two years can take a toll on even someone thinking they are superwoman. I learnt rest is just as important as juggling!
Never too old
But as I wait on my last two results (going well so far) I have realized that studying can never be a waste of time. And an additional lesson, yes you can get your degree and honours even during a pandemic. I heard that Margaret Hirsch recently got her MBA at close to 70 years old! Proving you are never too old! So, my number one tip to earn more – learn more!!!
My Top Tips on how to study part time:
- Get a cheerleading squad (A sister who celebrates every little win helps allot!)
- Get a support system (having a husband who can jump in to make dinner, transport the kids and keep them busy was life changing)
- Start as early as possible (you will always run behind in studies so start early)
- Have a schedule for daily studying (even if only 20 minutes)
- Ask your lecturer questions (I learnt that this year and it was a game changer)
Good luck hope you can also get your degree – and possibly your doctorate (my new goal!). See what has kept me going for the last few years www.jobcrystal.co.za
*Sasha Knott is the MD of Job Crystal a recruitment business that changes lives for candidates, SME’s and a growing global team. Sasha Knott holds a BCom in Business Management (while waiting on her results for Honours in Business Management) and is a female entrepreneur, speaker and disruptor in several industries such as Insurance and Recruitment.