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Working full time while getting Masters


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So, I am not sure how unique of a situation I'm in, but I thought I'd see if anyone had similar experience.


This fall, I will be beginning my Masters in Early Childhood Education. Instead of student teaching, my program requires that all students work full time in the (elementary) classroom while taking classes in the evening (two nights a week for 5 hours each evening). I will be working as an assistant third grade teacher. Obviously this is a great opportunity because I have a salary and benefits (no loans for grad school) and I can directly apply what I am learning to my job, but I'm still a little panicky. 


I think that the main reason that this seems overwhelming to me is that I am just graduating undergrad (in two weeks, yay!). I've been working part time for the last four years, but that's not quite the same. I begin my assistant teaching job the day after I finish undergrad classes. I begin my M.A.T. a month after that. It's all really fast.


Anyway, has anyone done something similar? How did you balance working 40 hours a week + classes + not completely isolating yourself in a cocoon of work? 



Edited by allaphoristic
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Hi Decaf,


It's totally doable but it does take a little while to get adjusted to your new schedule.  For me the biggest struggle was finding enough time to sleep and forcing myself to plan out meals ahead of time so that I wouldn't be skipping meals or eating a ton of fast food on the run (and making my body feel worse).


I'm not familiar with your program but it sounds like your studies and your work assignment will be very closely related.  That is a tremendous help and I think will help you stay encouraged and remain focused even during busy and stressful times.  I know that in my situation my work responsibilities and coursework really complement each other and I find that to be a big help!


One other thing I would say is that you will need to be careful to plan out enough time to get your school assignments done.  A big adjustment for me was realizing that those all-nighters (that are so common in undergrad) aren't as easy to do when you have to get up early for work, spend all day working, and then head straight to class afterwards.  


Also, take advantage of any breaks that you have - winter break, summer break, or even if it's just a few days between courses.  Having that downtime to relax and recharge is invaluable, even if you have to work during the day!


Like you, I work full-time and attend grad school part-time (2 courses per semester).  For the first 2 years of my program I also held a part-time job AND cared for my now disabled husband.  That also meant that I was also responsible for all of the chores, logistics of running our household, and groceries.  I don't know what your personal and family responsibilities are but I mention that to say that even when life throws a curveball your way and piles more "work" on top of your existing obligations it IS still possible to get it all done although you may find that you have less leisure and social time than you would prefer and you might have to make some tough choices.  For me, that meant giving up that second job (tough to give up that extra money when money is already tight) and forcing myself to have some "downtime" and just relax (reading books, watching TV, playing WoW, etc.) so that I wouldn't go nuts!

Good luck!
Edited by arthasdk
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