What I Learned From Switching To Part-Time Study

Stress? I don't know her.

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When I was in my second year of journalism, I decided to transfer to arts. I went through the transition thinking I could handle a full-time semester’s worth of theory. Wrong! I struggled, and I struggled big time.

I ended up deferring in second semester, with a couple of weeks to go. It was during my break when I had my “realising things” moment: I should study part-time. And it worked.

Here’s what I learned.

Organising A Catch-Up Is Difficult AF

The Messenger chats go from, “Have you done the tute prep?” to, “Are you at uni today?” Often, they will get back with, “No, I’m at work.” Either that, or they’re at home. The convo ultimately ends with “We need to hang soon,” and by soon, I mean the end of semester.

Do I get frustrated? Definitely. But you know what? We’re all busy getting our shit together. Besides, it’s likely nothing new has happened since the last catch-up sesh.

I may not get to see my friends for yonks, but when we do hang, it’s like time hasn’t passed.

Leaving Assignments To The Last Minute Is Not An Option

It’s a known fact that making the switch to part-time means having so much free time. Question is, what was I going to do with it? Solution: Get a head start on assignments.

Speaking of, another thing I realised was that I make significant progress when I divide assignments into achievable chunks. What did I do previously? Jot down “MUST WRITE ESSAY” on my diary, only to leave uni feeling disappointed after an unproductive sesh. Those days are thankfully over.

Even better, I could give my all in every assignment since they were spaced out across my two subjects. My grades improved, and so did my academic standing. Stress? I don’t know her.

Centrelink Cutting My Youth Allowance Was For The Best

When I received the “Your youth allowance has been cancelled” email, retailers were looking for Christmas casuals and the student organisation at uni were offering paid internships. I went for both. I successfully reached the interview stage on three occasions, and I would leave feeling confident that I would get the gig. I didn’t.

Eventually, one retailer took a chance on me. More good news came in once the Christmas casual contract ended. I was offered to stay — I knew it from the moment I was asked, “Have they asked you about staying?” The struggle to get by on youth allowance was no more!

Your Peers Will Graduate While You’re Still Studying

Some of the friends I met in my first year of journalism graduated earlier this year. Others will get their paper next year. That could’ve been me, had I not changed degrees, had I not gave up during that one semester, and had I not realised moving to part-time was the solution to my problem. The fact is, I’m in no rush to graduate.

Have I considered going back to full-time study? I tried it during second semester this year. However, I was worried that I could experience a repeat of second semester last year. A sesh with my academic advisor made me realise, yet again, I should drop a unit. After all, I am at my best when I stay to my strengths. Full-time study can stick it!

Ryan Bautista is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza. 

(Lead image: 21 And Over/Relativity Media)