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Studying - would it work?

I haven't been on here much lately, but still hoping for some of your great advice!

My lo's are nearly 3 and 16 months and I'm thinking of applying for a place on a degree (something I started, but never finished a few years ago) - am I completely mad?

I have a few options. There is a full-time option over 3 years, and part-time over four years. I would love to do do the full-time BA and finish by the time my youngest starts primary school, but have a feeling this would be too much to take on. It would mean three full days at uni, plus study at home. The part-time would be much more managable. Its a suported open learning course so only one day a week in class and the rest studying from home. But it would take me a year longer to complete. And I'm already 30!

Has anyone studied whilst their lo's were young? Is it feasible? Or just some sensible advice from anyone with a sense of loigic would help, since mine seems to have gone out the window lately!

The other thing is that we're returning to the UK next month and I could either apply straight away and try for a late place this September, or wait another year. If I started this year, I would have to rush to get the children some childcare (although my mum will be around to help too). Would that be unfair on them? They've been used to having me full-time and after such a big move I wouldn't want to upset them too much.

Sorry for long post. Hoping for some advice..missymoo x

[Modified by: missymoo on 21 June 2010 10:13:44 ]


  • Hi

    Do you remember SazzyJay? I'm still in contact with her, I'm pretty sure she finished her degree with 1 LO and she's just set up a business with 2 LOs. I'll ask her to post cos she's got to be the master of multi-tasking!

    Liz x
  • Hi Liz,

    That would be great thanks. I don't remember SazzyJay but would love to hear from someone who's done it. I don't know anyone who has studied when lo's were young so I don't know if it's a ridiculous idea or not!

    Hope you and the boys are doing ok.

  • First off, let me say hello, I'm SJ...Sazzyay...whatever you want to call me.

    I actually finished my degree through the final few weeks of my (very awful) pregnancy so it's not exactly the same situation as yourself.

    I have however done a number of courses while having both girls & have been able to put them into creche - I've done Self-Employment for Women, Paediatric First Aid & Food Health & Safety. Granted at most I was only 'studying' 2 half days a week though.

    As Liz says though I have set up my own business & I will be honest with you - it is hard with 2 LO's in tow. My eldest is 3 in October and the youngest is almost 7 months.

    What I can offer you is:

    - You don't have to think you're Superwoman, if something can be left to the next day, then leave it.

    - If you get work in to do at home - try not to leave it to the last minute (easier said than done I know) as it'll leave you stressed and your LO's will pick up on it.

    - Make sure you have good support behind you - partner/husband/mum

    - Take 'ME' time atleast once a week (again easier said than done)

    - Stay WELL organised - diaries, calendars etc

    The childcare bit - I've only just made the decision to put my eldest in nursery during the week - a massive step for me and still feeling a bit guilty about it, but it allows me some to get things done with her climbing on me or the desk. I'm being told by my husband that our LO will love it - and he's right - she loves playing with other kids. The interaction they'll get from other kids as well as from you the rest of the time will bring them on in their development (seeing it now - I actually do know I'm doing the right thing!!).

    Could you say perhaps go for the full time BA then if after the 1st year you find you're struggling - drop it down to part time (not sure if it still works like that?).

    And finally - no it's NOT a ridiculous idea at all.

    Hope I've helped a little xxx

  • Hi missy, I haven't studied with los, but from a lecturer's point of view, I would definitely recommend doing the part-time course. Being 30 isn't a problem at all (some of my best students were in their 40s and 50s - really odd when I was only in my mid-twenties at the time and they new *lot* more about Thatcherism than I did! :lolimage but it will be a problem if you end up struggling to make deadlines. Lecturers and departments will be pretty sympathetic to any (inevitable) childcare crises, but a lot more so if you go in having given yourself as much time and space as possible to do a good job of studying.

    It is definitely possible to study with children. Lots of postgraduates have kids and, as I say, universities are usually pretty sympathetic to parent students if they are committed. It may be worth investigating whether the university you plan to apply to has a creche. If so, it should be open to students as well as faculty and will make your life a lot easier as it will be able to work with student schedules.

    As for when you apply, it may be worth doing it now, before the funding report is out (later this year) as tuition fees may go up. Just another thought to add to the mix (sorry!).

    Best of luck with it. And for the move as well!
  • Hi Sj, thanks so much for the great advice. You did so well to finish your degree before giving birth..just in the nick of time! I will definitely bear in mind the points you've made. Organisation will be key. Luckily my partner is very supportive and we will be moving close to family so I should have a good support network around me. I am going to go for it, otherwise I'll probably always be thinking 'what if'.

    I know what you mean about the childcare bit. It's hard isn't it? I'm also planning to start my eldest in nursery/pre-school in September and trying not to think about it too deeply at the moment!

    THG, you are making me think I might be better suited to the part-time course. I might check whether it's possible to start the full-time and if it doesn't work carry things over to the part-time if it doesn't work, as SJ mentioned. Although I don't want to sound like I'm not confident when applying. Would you know if that is ever a possibility? For the full-time course the University I'm looking at has a brilliant nursery open to students, but the part-time is at the college and childcare doesn't look as good. Much to consider.

    Wow, advice from student and lecturer. That is so helpful! Thank you x
  • I started to Uni f/t when my DD1 was 11 months and previous to that had to do an A level in a year (well more like 9 months) when I was 8 months preganat - had Oct half term then 1 more wk off when Lo was born and then was back to it. I was a single mum and at one point had 2 bar jobs at the same time! I look back and wonder how the hell did I do it!? But I did. And it is the thing that Im the most proudest of.

    It is very possible and I would say having childcare sorted is the biggest stress overcome. As you've said f/t isn't f/t as it's only 3 days a week and the rest is flexible. The f/t course offers childcare. But It really is down to you to weigh it all. You will need bucket loads of passion, enthusiasm (and wine and choc when things go wrong) :lol:
  • El, I am seriously impressed. I really am! How did you get on studying at home and getting your coursework done? Just wondered if you used the evening to do this, or extra childcare? As i said I'm lucky in that I have a suppotive partner, as well as the prospect of being close to family soon. But I still can't get over the worry of how it will affect the lo's. Saying that, it's probably more my issue than theirs!

    Will definitely be having the cupboards stocked with wine and choccie!
  • Missy, it should be possible to change from full to part-time, particularly at the end of the first year (rather than the second) but it will depend on the university/course you are applying for. Is there someone in the department (department head, possible supervisor, mature student co-ordinator) you can discuss it with? They will have the best idea of the specifics and be able to advise you on the best course of action.

    The thing about lecturers is that we are real people too, often with families and commitments outside work, not distant authority figures. The more we are taken on board about students' needs, the happier we are to be flexible where possible. And we tend to love mature students because they do this (as well as being very dedicated and passionate)! 18-year-olds tend to forget you are human and then demand extensions at the last minute when it isn't possible!

    I would say if the full-time course offers really good childcare, that you should definitely consider it seriously, but do talk to someone as well if possible. And as for affecting your los, if they are seeing their mum working hard at her education and qualifications, you are giving them a fabulously good example to follow. My mum finished her MA when I was 14 and it is one of her proudest achievements. It was a very practical example of how much my parents valued education and I know it influenced all three of us children in our future choices.

    Good luck! And do let us know how you get on.
  • THG, thanks again for your wonderful advice and words of wisdom. As suspected, the full-time course is over subscribed for this year. There are still a couple of places on the part-time course so I have decided to apply for that, rather than wait another year to start the full-time course and finish at the same time anyway.

    Completely fabulous that your mum finished her MA when you were 14 and I can see what a good example that must have set for you. I think my main niggle was how it will affect the lo's now and in the very near future. But, ultimately it's so important to me that they see their mum as successful and fulfilled, so hopefully I too will be setting a good example!

    Will let you know how it goes .x
  • Hi, im doing this in Oct. I have 3 kids ds6, dd 2 and dd2 will be 6 months. Of course you can do it, organise yourself I did a HN/HND when ds was 3 and I was working fulltime and studying one day and a single parent, It can be done

    When I was pregnant with dd1 I was studying a uni, I passed my second year all subjects expect one as I moved too far away from uni 300 miles lol.

    Think you can do it and you will xx

    Good luck
  • Thank you 1boy1girlnbeanie and bex&bump. It does help to here your experiences.

    1boy1girlnbeanie , I do feel a bit of a wuss worrying about it when I hear that you were a single parent, working full-time and had 3 kids when you were a studying! Amazing!

    Bex&bump, well done on passing your course and being accepted at uni. You've done so well so far and I'm sure you will cope well at uni. Wishing you lot's of luck.

    I have literally just sent in my application/personal statement for the part-time course this year. Just have to wait and see now. x

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