(Re)Considering My Education

(Re)Considering My Education

As you can see from all the times (here, here, here & here) that I’ve blogged about uni and studying, I love to learn and therefore I have a really hard time accepting that study hasn’t worked for me. I loved going to uni. Sure, it was stressful at times, but I love learning and sitting in a classroom debating with people. I miss the brain sweat.


(Re)Considering My Education


Ever since I finished uni in early 2009, I’ve been looking for more study to do. I tried a Masters degree in Writing but it was boring – I completed two subjects, barely studied and got distinctions on my assignments.


I tried studying a Masters in Communications but the content was archaic and whoever wrote the lectures had a clear disdain for any kind of digital communications. Not acceptable.


I’ve tried those Writing and communications degrees more than once. I really shouldn’t have wasted my time and money.


I’ve looked into so many courses. I keep looking into courses. I’m a freaking expert on what Australian universities offer.


(Re)Considering My Education


I’ve looked at doing a PhD, because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do in my area. You do undergrad, honours, PhD. You teach. You consult. I don’t really want to go down that path (for a long list of reasons) but I’m wondering if my degree is the problem.


I never knew until 2015 how unique an undergraduate anthropology degree is. You’re basically taught at a very different level and in a very different style to prety much any other undergraduate degree there is. It’s not textbook learning at all.


I think that’s why I’ve struggled to find a coursework masters (or any postgrad) that suits me. It all feels like taking a step back. A big step back. It also helps to explain the lack of postgrad non research options for anthropology.


But do I want to do a PhD?


After my last failed attempt at postgrad study I told myself the only way I would go back to study is if I was doing a PhD. It seems to be the only logical way to study that will suit me.


Can I teach myself things? Well, yes. I can. But it’s not the same type of learning experience to Google things, read, analyse, apply and learn on my own. It’s not as fun, it’s not as motivating and it’s not as interactive as a classroom with students and subject matter experts in it.


But a PhD is a HUGE commitment. I don’t know if I could consistently fit it into my life. It’s a pretty all-consuming thing to do.


I don’t know if I would do it part time while working, or if I need to be able to be supporting my house through non day-job, flexible income before I could consider a PhD. While academics have told me I can likely get entry without having done honours (based on years of research work experience), it means I can’t compete for scholarships. But also, that sort of doesn’t matter as they’re not amounts of money you can live on anyway. And they’re certainly not the amount of money two people and a dog can live on.


Graduation Day
Graduation Day!


I guess where I’m at is covered a bit by this article and Facebook post I made last week. The current system of “doing” your life doesn’t fit my life. I need to find one that works for me. But I need to do that while surviving within the system for now.


I keep thinking I need a VA. Someone who can do tasks while I’m at work to help me to grow the things I need while I work. But a good VA is hard to come by and I don’t know how to afford one. Or if I could train my husband to be one…


And I really need to stop looking at this graduate certificate in scriptwriting… because I am so very tempted to enrol. Despite what it says, the uni confirmed that it is 100% external.


Have you done further study? How did you make the decision? 


Linking up with My Home Truths for I  Must Confess and The Multitasking Woman for Mummy Mondays.

22 Replies to “(Re)Considering My Education”

  1. I’m doing further study now, to grow my VA business through Business Mamas. It has certainly been a learning curve the online study but it is so flexible and seems to suit my approach.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I’ve got to say, I’ve been really put off of online study from the few masters I’ve tried. I guess it really depends on the provider though.

  2. I have deferred my studies but hope to fit it back again this year. Argh not enough time in the week

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Exactly, it’s so hard to fit in. I’ve wondered if I didn’t commute for so long if I would have the time.

  3. I started my masters before kids but even then it didn’t work out as I had a full time job and I simply couldn’t do it, I had absolutely no down time. Since then my ‘study’ hasn’t been academic, it’s been external ‘online’ stuff through Australian Writers Centre and the like. I completely get what you mean by there being a difference actually going to ‘uni’, there’s a certain kick you get when you sit in a lecture, have discussions and debates that you just don’t get at home. For now, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to do any further grad certs or dips as I’m happy plodding along and learning on my own accord. I wish I could have an answer to your dilemma though! I’m more of a ‘see where life takes’ you type person and would just not force it if it doesn’t feel right.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      The lack of downtime is a factor for me, too. I find working full time to be enough as it is. I wish I felt fulfilled enough just doing bits of study. I was thinking of taking an AWC course over a weekend in Sydney just because. Maybe I need to do that for the fun of learning.

  4. I discovered last year that I want to learn with all of the social stuff of bouncing ideas and learning together but none of the learning to an assessment. It kind of takes the shine out of learning.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Assessment didn’t bother me at uni as it was basically “pick a question related to the class and write about it”, so there was a good balance of freedom in getting to write about things that I was interested in.

  5. Studying requires such a huge commitment, in time, money and effort – I can barely find time to water my plants! Although I’m a sucker for online courses. I keep buying them (on blogging, social media, etc), then getting half way through and getting bored (or realising I already know the content). Very annoying. And expensive!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      That’s what puts me off of taking online courses – wondering if I would know most of it.

  6. Oh I know how hard it is to be ‘betwixt’ and ‘between’ and when you’re not sure and a million people offer you advice then it becomes even more confusing. Have you spoken to anyone about the slog of the Phd? I have one friend who has finished..and one who is very close to finishing and their updates woluld get me down! Yet, for both of them they wanted this and they are both in academia already but it required so much ‘away from family’ time at certain junctions. I did both my degrees (B.Ed and M.Ed) whilst working full time as a teacher/assistant prin/deputy and being a full time mama to a teen and a Primary school kid. It involved the whole family really as there were weekends and holidays where I could not be part of what they were doing. BUT, I am very proud of my achievements and these kids (and now hub!) of mine have degrees and professional careers too. So, do you want to?? Denyse

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I guess the other factor here is that if I do a PhD, I’ve always decided it would be for fun, not academia. I’m a bit weird haha.

  7. Oh gosh I wish you luck with your decision!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      Despite this post, my goal is to not doing anything big in the first half of this year, so it’s a long term decision!

  8. I would love to go back to uni and undertake further study. Since I completed my honours in history & classics in 2000 I’ve undertaken a Certificate IV in Human Resource Management at TAFE and more recently a couple of courses at the Australian Writers Centre. But it hasn’t been the same. I would love to head back to uni one day but that will depend on finances and family commitments into the future. Good luck with your decision Nat!

  9. Good luck with your decision. I am no help whatsoever, never studied after high school so have no idea about any of it! Have been thinking about doing some online study, but bit worried about the time aspect.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      The time aspect is very difficult to manage. Everyone in your household, work, anything you do in life really needs to be supportive of the time restrictions you will have if you study (particularly if you go to uni).

  10. Hello! Found you at Mummy Mondays. 😉
    In response to this post…*sigh. It’s a journey, isn’t it? I went to trade school, was employed in the field for all of a month. Took a different route. Went to college. Had a 4.0. Dropped out to be a stay-at-homeschooling mom and never looked back. Now I blog about homeschooling and “mommyhood” and whatever fancies me and I love it. I say: write a personal mission statement, do whatever it takes to get you there, and listen to how you “feel” about things. But seems like you are pretty good at that. Oh..and this sounds cliche buuuuut…ENJOY THE JOURNEY!

  11. I’ve watched my stepmum do her PhD and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody!!!!! It’s a huge task!!!

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      I know! That’s why I’ve never applied, despite it having been on my mind for a long time.

  12. I did a Master’s Degree in Public Health/ Health Promotion. It was half online and half face to face. I did it working full time, but I did it for me, not to rush and get a new job (although that did happen.) So I enjoyed it, and took three years to do it in. I absolutely loved it (besides the statistics). No kids though. But I did manage to run a marathon, get married and buy a house in that time as well.

    1. Vanessa Smith says: Reply

      The weird thing for me is that I would only consider a PhD for fun…or as you put it, for myself.

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