Jun 2016

Part-time Superheroes Fighting Against Time

Part time Superheroes fighting against time

''Don't you think you don’t have enough time? ''

''On the contrary, I think I earned myself a lot of time.''

That was the part of the conversation that surprised me while talking to student of the month from a private education institution, London School of Business & Finance, Chin Au Win.

Au Win works full time while studying part time diploma in Business with LSBF.

Upon further interrogation, I found out from him that the whole balancing act he is undertaking allows him to achieve more with less time, thus ''earning him additional time''. 

Within a 2-years timeframe, he would have gotten a diploma plus 2 years of working experience, as compared to a typical student who would only have garnered a diploma.

At 22, Au Win is taking his diploma, which seems a tad too old for most Singaporeans. Well, hailing from Malaysia, he started working and supporting himself at a tender age.  It could be the reason he is fighting for lost time now.

Being part of the strawberry generation not known to take hardship, his ability to delay gratification is remarkable.

No wonder they are called part time Superheroes by LSBF.  

Au Win is not the only one. The recent survey by The guardian shows that there is an increasing number of ''part time superheroes'' worldwide.

What are part time superheroes?

In general, people who work and study.

At some point, every student has taken on a job as a waiter, tutor or a retail assistant. Does that make everyone a part time superhero?

Therein lies the difference and the tough part.

For part-time superheroes, their job is their career, their livelihood and their hope. There is no such thing as ''quitting to prepare for exams'' and coming back during holidays.  These people work full time and study part/full time.

For Au Win, he spends 3 days a week on studies and 5.5 days a week at work. In a nutshell, the legendary triangle for students has now become a square. 

Legendary Square for part time superheroes

How tough?

The no.1 enemy faced by part time superheroes? Tiredness.

''I have to maintain my concentration on both work and studies. As time passes by, the tiredness begins to attack’’ Said Rashwini, an accounting student and executive.

For Au Win, it means sacrificing family time. Being a Malaysian, he used to travel back home over the weekend to see mum and dad. Ever since commencing part time studies, his weekends have been instead spent catching up on revisions, project work and most importantly, rest.

Is it worth it? Let’s check it out 

Benefits of part time studies

Saving time doesn't make for a strong enough case in pursuing this arduous path, does it ? After all, school life is not something you can get to repeat. Are there further benefits?

Yes, according to Au Win.

You actually get to maximize your school life! Working provides you with exposure to a multitude of tasks which gives you an indication of what you like and dislike. Through a process of trial and error, you move closer to what you really want in life. When you eventually choose your major, you can be sure that it is one that makes your heart sing. Definitely a vaccine for mid-life crisis.

That is not to mention the part where you build up your resume and acquire skills that can only be learnt in the workplace.

"Working while one is still in school enhances the ability to meet deadlines, work under pressure and effectively structure time blocks," said Wendy Patrick, behavioral expert and business ethics lecturer at San Diego State University. "It instills a sense of discipline, responsibility, structure — all elements that contribute to a successful life."

Tips to pick up

We certainly won't leave you in the lurch now that you are interested to take on this superhuman endeavor.

Here is a compilation of tips shared by those who has juggled both commitments well.

- Your boss matters.

Au Win told us that he is lucky to have an understanding boss, which gave him confidence in the first place in signing up for studies. It is important to communicate with your employer (future or present). Otherwise, don't be surprised to find yourself arriving late for lecture every day.

- Don't choose any job.

 You may be tempted to work in a mundane job as a part time student, given the level of intensiveness. However, taking on a job related to your field of studies can greatly amplify your learning in class. You can draw the link between theory and practicality and learn more than your peers.

- Have a social life.

We can't emphasize this enough. Carve out a time slot for relaxing and socializing. If possible, socialize during work to save time. You don't want to burn out and end up lying on the bed for a few days to recuperate. 

Last but not least

The conversation ended hastily as Au Win had to rush for his lecture after coming to meet me from work. My last question was: Do you have any regrets?

He said something which set me thinking for the night.

From kindergarten all the way to secondary education, everything is arranged for me. This is something I decided on my own, my choice, and I’m sticking with it.

Hmmm, isn’t it time that we decide something for ourselves as well? 

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