Including a return to 3rd level education while pursuing a career break has been a gratifying decision. In this blog post, I will explore the unique experiences and challenges of being a part-time student studying a 2-year MSc programme at DCU Business School. From juggling life responsibilities to managing coursework and enjoying the perks of student life, I’ll share my experiences that have enhanced my personal and professional growth.
Even with the flexibility of time associated with a career break, being a part-time student still requires exceptional time management skills and a strong sense of dedication. Going back to education can seem daunting at first. Still, you quickly realise that it presents a valuable opportunity to explore pathways to enhance your career or to develop new career aspirations. Flexibility is perhaps the most significant advantage of being a part-time student. You have the freedom to design your study schedule. Attending the MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour combines lectures to a single afternoon one day per week, meaning you can engage with the course material at your own pace, which allows the pursuit of both personal and academic goals simultaneously without compromising either.
The highlight of the MSc programme is the diverse and vibrant community of fellow students and faculty, all with a depth and breadth of professional experience from various industries. The classroom environment, facilitated by the lectures, encourages sharing experiences and insights and provides a fertile ground for networking and connection. Group projects, guest speakers, case study analysis, and modules taught in work and organisational psychology/behaviour facilitate ongoing collaboration throughout each module that enhances the learning experience.
I really engaged with the Strategy, Organisation, and Innovation module. Although I had over 25 years of business experience, I found the module a great refresher. The module improved my knowledge, understanding, and application of strategy as a subject. The module exposed many strategic issues that business face, both internally and externally. I valued the class discussions on the weekly case studies and readings, with the weekly comments posts encouraging me to develop my thinking throughout the module. I learned to be more objective and think critically about the reading material. A skill that has helped me throughout the first year with reading in support of group presentations, writing assignments, and developing a research proposal for the final year thesis.
Although being a part-time student is an enriching experience, it does come with a fair share of challenges. Time management, fatigue, and finding a healthy life-study balance can be demanding. However, challenges can be overcome with proper planning, self-determination, and knowing you have the support of your classmates and faculty in times of need.
DCU Business School offers a wealth of resources in support of part-time study. From a state-of-the-art library, online learning management system, and access to a broad set of research databases to career support services and academic and personal supports, all aimed at enhancing your learning and helping you succeed in your studies and career goals.
Personally, I found it valuable to maximise my time on campus by attending guest lectures at the university, joining several student social clubs and societies, and participating in extracurricular activities as a way to immerse myself in the vibrance of university life. Engaging with other students and faculty beyond the MSc programme added to the overall experience, creating great memories and a broader personal network.
Being a part-time student studying the MSc in Work and Organisational Psychology/Behaviour provides a unique opportunity for anybody on a career break for personal and professional growth. Despite the challenges, the rewards have been significant. Time management, programme flexibility, and engagement in university life are both fulfilling and enriching. Embrace the journey and make the most of the invaluable journey that awaits you in pursuing a part-time MSc in Work and Organisation Psychology/Behaviour at DCU Business School.