If you read back through my older posts, you’ll see that I took leave of absence from my Masters programme last semester. Well, I had a very good reason, I think – I was pregnant with our first baby.
Fast forward to March 2016: our lovely baby daughter has been here since the start of the year and I’ve been back to studying since February.
I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t been worried about returning to study. I wasn’t sure whether I’d find the time to study with a newborn baby, and I wasn’t sure whether I’d even be interested in studying. After all, you only have your first baby once.
Well, so far, things have turned out fine. After all, my course is a part-time programme, so by definition the workload is less than it would be for a full-time programme. And although looking after a young baby is pretty hard work, at least I’m at home in the day and can sit down to study whenever the baby naps. It also helps that I’m still fascinated by the world of information and librarianship. I’m not saying studying with a baby easy – it’s really hard. But here are some things that have helped me in the last few weeks:
- This first tip is actually from my coursemate who was in a similar situation a year ago – only that she didn’t even take time off when she was pregnant. That woman is a hero! Read papers on your phone whilst breastfeeding. Especially at night, when there really isn’t much else to do.
- This goes along with 1.): use mobile technology. I use Mendeley to organise my references and PDFs, and it’s pretty nifty how you can access your PDFs on any device that runs Mendeley, such as my mobile phone. No doubt other reference managers do similar stuff.
- Get yourself a sling. My baby loves sleeping in the sling. She’s close to me, and I have my hands free to type on the laptop. We both win.
- Enjoy the ‘me’ time. Most of the time, studying isn’t a chore for me, but something that I really enjoy doing. (It certainly helps that my current module on managing library services is massively interesting.)
- Be organised. So, know when your deadlines are. Stay on top of your weekly workload. Easier said than done – but it’s important not to fall behind.
- Get support from your family. I couldn’t do this without my amazing husband.
- Don’t expect to be perfect. Not an easy task if you’re a perfectionist! But my mantra whilst writing my current assignment has been: you just need to pass, you don’t need to achieve a top mark. (Incidentially, this also applies to being a new parent in general!)
My first assignment is due next week – wish me luck!