My secret skill: Juggling!

The dictionary definition of juggling is:

  • to perform the tricks of a juggler
  • to engage in manipulation especially in order to achieve a desired end
  • to handle or deal with usually several things (as obligations) at one time so as to satisfy often competing requirements

The latter two relate to me. I have mastered the skill to juggle the responsibilities of family life, my full-time university studies, a casual job and my ‘me’ time. This, at times, leads to feeling like the star attraction in my very own ‘family’ circus, and my 3 girls are the ringmasters  ;)

I am sure that I am not the only one out there who feels this way at times, you long for the mid semester break, to have the chance to catch a breath just in the nick of time, only to start back again and sit through long nights of study before end of semester exams. You take a break and it starts all over again, a constant juggling act.

This mid semester break I had the opportunity to travel interstate for a ‘real’ holiday, at my family reunion.  It was a challenge to prepare my assessment early to ensure the time away was really a holiday. But it definitely paid out in the end. I cannot stress how important it is to ensure a good study/family/work balance together with fun and recreation. I think I had forgotten what it felt like to just sit and do nothing, listen to the waves – we were at the beach – and just spend time with the family. I even got a chance to go quad biking on the largest sand dunes in Australia with some of my family. Best fun I have had in ages!

It can be so easy to get caught up in the stresses and deadlines of uni life. However, by keeping on top of things, or when necessary, knowing when to let things go, we can achieve all we need to without missing out on anything.  There are occasions when I don’t get time to do the housework because an assignment is due. If I work late, I’ll order pizza for dinner, and if I have a kids soccer match to attend, I stay up late and study. It all balances out in the end. A bit of give and take, and a lot of quality time with the family is all it takes for me. My eldest daughter Chloe says she’d much prefer that I spend ½ hr doing something with her, then spending half the day in the same room on the laptop working. Quality time, not quantity. I wish I could say the same for work, lol. But there is nothing I can do about the time spent at work. Having said that, there are times I have to turn down a shift to ensure I am there for my family.

Knowing your priorities and planning your time will help you stay in control. I ask myself, is what I am doing now going to matter in the long run? Is it going to make my life easier or more difficult? Does it really matter if the dishes are not done until morning? When necessary, there are things I need to take out of my ‘juggling’ act to make my time as a uni student more successful without hindering my family, work and recreational time. What are some things you could take out of yours, even if only for a short time, to help you through when needed?

This entry was posted in Open and tagged , , , , , by Clare - USQ Student Blogger. Bookmark the permalink.

About Clare - USQ Student Blogger

I am nearing the end of studying my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Accounting. My study is slotted in around my busy lifestyle. I have 3 beautiful daughters – one was only a week old when I started uni! I always make time to hang out with my family and friends - going camping in the great outdoors and heading to the beach. If I could do anything in the world, I would test out all the greatest tourist destinations around the globe. I admire when people are honest, especially when it would be easier to lie. And I hate neighbours with dogs that bark ALL the time, what it up with that?! Don’t they know my baby is asleep and I am trying to study? Seriously, I love my life, people may call it hectic, I call it being happy.

3 thoughts on “My secret skill: Juggling!

  1. Hi, I’m sorta in the same situation, I work casually, about to start open foundation at uni ( in Newcastle) and I’m wanting to study bachelor of business next yr, it’s a 3 year course full time, I have 2 daughters, one will be in year 1 next year and the other would be about 16 months old march 2014, hubby works in sydney full time so he’s not around to drop off n pick up, how do u afford the uni costs and get your girls to school etc

  2. Hi Laura,

    Congratulations on receiving an offer to study! What a great question! I will forward along for Clare to have a look at but thought I would just let you know some tips other parents have used to succeed at uni. There are a lot of scholarships available for students and it is worth checking with your uni to see what is on offer. At USQ you don’t need to be online all the time for your courses and we offer the flexibility to study part-time if you need to. Just check with your uni to see if you are able to study part-time to better juggle family and study.

    Clare will respond shortly with her experience of studying with children. It’s a wonderful example you are setting for your family, showing them you can balance home and further your studies.

    All the best with your course!

    -The USQ Team

  3. Laura!
    I guess the best response I can give is to share what we did. My husband decided to have his midlife crisis young, and enrolled in a bachelor of Nursing. So we were already looking at the prospect of either myself returning to work and him being the stay at home parent/studying, or I could ALSO take the chance and study myself. As you know, I chose to study. I started my pathway to USQ at TAFE were I completed a Diploma of Event Management and used this to get credit of my degree. My diploma gave me the equivalent of 1 years full time study at USQ. I am sharing these smaller details as it was my intention at first to work in my then qualified field (event management) and study just 1 subject per semester until Luke (hubby) was finished his degree and back at work. Little did I know that I was about to find out we were expecting our 3rd child, and she was due the week I was meant to start uni and work part time! With this spanner thrown in the works, we really had to think about our finance options and how we would make ends meet.
    Neither of us could physically work, study and raise our children. We took the following steps to make ends meet.
    We moved into a relatives house (crammed with 4 of us in 2 rooms, and another one the way!) which was a grat way for my girls to learn to get along and share.
    We made an appointment with centerlink, and they advised of the family payments/family tax benefit and austudy we were eligible for. Make sure you speak to customer service officers from BOTH student payment and family payment departments. Centrelink also advised of upfront study grants and one off payments available for some students also.
    We wrote up a budget and stuck to it! Hardest thing we ever had to do. But we are soooo good with our money now, a great learning curve!
    We researched about 2nd hand books, and did pretty much all we could to take advantage of student cards, pension cards and health care cards to save every dollar.
    BUT I think the best thing we ever did was apply for scholarships through the uni. My husband got one that paid for nearly his entire course.
    Back to baby number 3! She arrived 1 week before I started classes, and with my lecturers approval she came with my for the first 6 months (which I enrolled in 3 subjects).
    I also had the support of Luke at home between his study timetable and together we took turns spending time with the kids and doing ‘housestuff’ so each of us had the time and peace to work through assignments and study. So family support played a HUGE part in juggling the kids and homefront. We would work around school drop off, and there were rare times I needed to be late for class or leave early, but generally the classes fitted in really well within school hours. On average a course required 3-4 hrs per week on campus (if you are not external) so even when you are full time, you are usually on at uni for up to 20 hours a week, the rest of your study time in spent at home, and those are the times when support at home is needed.
    Having said that, now that Luke is finished his nursing degree and is working full time, I have needed to drop my enrollment at times to just 1 course a semester to ensure I put the kids first. It will take longer, but worth it in the end. USQ offer great flexibility in the study modes that you can chose, and some of these course have been external, so I haven’t even set foot on campus except for exams at times. Plus, my children have grown up in an environment where they have seen education as important AND achievable.
    With the right support and the right advice, going to uni with kids is VERY achievable. You just have to find the right balance for you and your family/budget and time. Take advantage of all there is on offer. USQ offer a great variety of scholarships and a broad spectrum of other support available.
    Hope this helps a little, I get on a role once I get started! Good luck with all your study endeavors, I am sure you will do well. Rememer juggling is what us Mum’s do best!

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