Why go part-time?

As we near the end of semester two I watch those around me get more and more stressed as their multiple deadlines near, their dissertation ideas become more and more of a reality and job and PhD searches become interviews. I on the other hand, am not feeling the strain of postgraduate study life. This semester I had one full time module and a field trip coming up in a couple of weeks. I have a couple of part time jobs that I have made sure are flexible around my studies and the various university meetings I choose to attend. I have just started a new volunteering post helping run wilderness clubs for school pupils, I’m spending my Easter break working at the zoo and my dissertation deadline is not looming for a while yet. Why? Because I decided to go part time.

I first started considering part time due to cost. I travelled for 7 months before arriving in Edinburgh and as I watched it eat away at my savings, I knew the tuition fees and the living costs that come with moving to a city like Edinburgh, I would struggle without getting some sort of job. With the amount of studying required for a masters degree that can be pretty tricky and I knew it would add to the pressure of getting assignments done on time and to my best ability.

Having enjoyed my undergraduate uni life so much, I also knew I wanted time to get involved in other extracurricular stuff the university had to offer. I wanted to take advantage of the societies, social events, open talks and lectures, representative roles, development workshops and more.

However, I still wasn’t entirely convinced that going part time was for me so I enrolled as a full time student.  Unfortunately on arrival I wasn’t able to secure the elective modules I was hoping for. I was also still frantically trying to find somewhere to live in the city (I’m not going to lie, it is not easy!) I also discovered that over half the people on my course were part timers. This was the last little nudge I needed, and swapped to part time in my second week.

This year, I’ve chosen to just complete my compulsory modules, allowing plenty of time to settle back into university life, explore the opportunities for earning a little extra money and experience and utilise everything the university can offer. I imagine my summer will resemble something similar to undergraduate summers, the wishes of long holidays and lazy days sunbathing in the meadows, but really a chance to rake in as much money as I can and ponder my dissertation. Next year I will complete my elective modules and make the dissertation a reality, hopefully a little more relaxed than my full-time peers are currently.

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