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Secrets to success: your survival guide to postgraduate study

Are you considering progressing your career or exploring a new one? While the idea of returning to study and maintaining our work life, home life and sanity might seem daunting, it can be done.

Feeling nervous and excited is expected when studying a postgraduate course. After all, you’re taking on something that will have a positive impact on your career. But how do you balance all of life’s demands? 

To beat study stress, we’ve created a handy postgraduate survival guide full of tried-and-true strategies you can employ to make this time in your life productive and satisfying. 

1. Reward yourself

You are making a significant intellectual commitment by embarking on a postgraduate course, so give yourself a high five! And don’t stop there — plan recurrent incentives throughout your study journey to maintain your motivation. Schedule a massage after you complete an assignment. Book a celebratory dinner with family and friends to mark the conclusion of the semester. Invest in a special pen and notepad for each new course. Be sure to recognise the sacrifices and efforts you have made. 

2. Take stock of your time 

Have you ever examined your time? Grab a notebook or your phone and record the duration of each daily activity, such as commuting, working, or Netflix bingeing. You may find your time is not being utilised as efficiently as it could be. Of course, you don’t have to give up Netflix completely, but you may be able to use some of that time to study. And rather than spending an extra hour at work, use that time to your advantage. 

3. Combine your study with work

Your postgraduate study is likely to be relevant to your current job; in fact, it’s expected to benefit your employer — therefore, make the most of it for optimal student work-life balance. Implement your newfound knowledge immediately to receive real-world feedback. Apply your research to your workplace, then present your findings to your team and managers. Your employer may also be able to provide you with study materials or dedicated time for your studies.

4. Tap into your support network 

Online learning raises many questions. Student Support Advisers at Governance Institute are the experts who can answer them. Whether you have questions about course material, establishing a study schedule, or taking breaks while studying, Student Support Advisors have the answers. They will provide support (and answer questions) until you graduate. 

5. Embrace your postgraduate community 

You are not alone. Many postgraduate students work full time, which is why a Governance Institute postgraduate course is designed to offer maximum flexibility while still building community. Our online learning portal allows you to seamlessly interact with your peers, making it easy to discuss the topic you’re working on, the research you’re conducting, or to receive additional guidance on balancing your academic, professional and personal life. In addition to understanding what you are experiencing as a part-time student, your postgraduate community is a powerful place to network and develop professional relationships. 

6. Make a plan

It is commonly said, ‘those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’ Rather than attempting to decipher the logic of this maxim, simply plan. Begin by reviewing your postgraduate course and planning your activities for the next two years. Then, make a yearly schedule incorporating your academic, personal, and professional obligations. Next, divide the year into study units, then months and finally weeks. You might be surprised to discover how little time you have, but this method will ensure that you have sufficient time for the things that matter. 

7. Tell your family, friends and your employer 

Pursuing a postgraduate course does not require putting your life on hold. Yet, as your planning has revealed, time is limited, so you must set priorities. Request that your family and friends give you ample notice for social gatherings and understand why you cannot attend. Inform your employer of your studies and the dates on which you will be unavailable for additional shifts or overtime. And keep everyone informed of your progress so they can share in your successes. 

8. Choose a course that fits into your life 

In the era of COVID-19, physical attendance is no longer required when returning to the study. With Governance Institute’s adaptable online postgraduate courses, you can continue your busy lifestyle without interfering with on-campus classes. Not only does this save you time, but it also enables you to study whenever and wherever is most convenient. The learning materials are always accessible and organised into manageable chunks, allowing you to study at your own pace. 

9. Don’t be afraid to take a break 

Even with a study plan in place, student work-life balance can occasionally seem overwhelming. Our postgraduate courses allow students to take up to two leave of absence periods (or two semesters of leave) if approved by Governance Institute prior to the census date that still allow students to complete the course within the maximum 3–4-year* completion time.
*Graduate Certificate 3 years; Graduate Diploma 4 years.

10. Enjoy yourself

Studying a postgraduate course at Governance Institute is one of the most inspiring things you can do, so take advantage of all the facilities and services we offer to maximise your student experience. For example, you can utilise our online library, which places a wealth of corporate governance, risk managements and regulatory compliance resources at your fingertips. You’ll sharpen your existing knowledge while expanding your mind with new information and learning about the latest trends. But most of all, enjoy yourself. Find your tribe, build a network with your postgraduate peers, and indulge in all that student life offers. 

Start your postgraduate journey today! 

Accelerate your career with accredited postgraduate study in governance and risk management. Our flexible learning options mean you can make postgraduate study work for you.  


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