The most beautiful time of the year is here! It’s merry and bright with the town’s festivities, decorations, hustle, and bustle. It is almost the end of the year, and everyone wants to enjoy some time off, relax, take break from studies and work, and spend time with their families, friends, neighbours, and colleagues. Seems like all jovial and merry time to me! However, are holidays always like that?
Well, the demands of the holiday season – shopping, cooking elaborate festive menus with exotic dishes (thanks to social media..), baking, cleaning, entertaining, and making the season its festive best (and the list is exhaustive…phew!) – can prove to be an overwhelming time.
One of my friends told me she was planning to bake 12 cakes, one for each of her neighbours with whom she is a good friend. Her husband suggested buying cakes instead, but she wanted to give a personal touch to her gift. Wow! I am sure after baking 12 cakes, she has become a professional baker. On top of this, she had a “Secret Santa” gift exchange at work, and her kids had to do a gift exchange at their school. Well, online shopping helped her save a lot of time, but one can never wholly escape visiting the stores physically.
I experience the same mixed feelings of excitement and pressure around festive times. While I love decorating my house, I get stressed about getting the best colour-coordinated decorations and, of course, not to mention matching Holiday sweaters for all my family. I love entertaining my friends and family at my house, but the whole process of planning, preparation and execution exhaust me.
It is advised not to get carried away with anxiety about holiday preparations. It is better to prioritise what is essential for you, keeping in view the traditions.
Here are some helpful tips you can follow to keep stress at bay and enjoy the festivities:
Plan ahead – Start your preparations in advance to stay ahead in the game. Plan, prepare and stock food for cooking and baking, and start shopping weeks in advance to avoid the last-minute rush. You will be better able to enjoy time with family and friends.
Ask for help – Please know that you are not in this alone. Other family members, friends and colleagues would love to give a helping hand, assist you with getting groceries, driving around, wrapping presents, or decorating.
Be organized – The key to stress-free holidays is to be super-organized. Make lists of tasks and set reminders to keep you on track.
Set holiday budget – I know we are still reeling under the effect of Covid-19, and inflation is at an all-time high. We all want to make the season as festive as possible, don’t we? Under these trying times, set strict financial budgets for holiday shopping and stick to them. Think of innovative ideas to save some $$ like buying when discounts are on, buying collective gifts, organising potluck instead of doing all cooking etc.
Don’t forget to breathe and exercise – Take a deep breath whenever you feel overwhelmed. With all the merry drinks and sugary cakes you will be eating, exercising will help keep those extra calories at bay. Also, exercising is relaxing and boosts new energy.
There is a lot of cultural pressure around the holidays, especially now that social media forces us to compare ourselves with the idealised notions of the holidays. I would suggest, earmark a day and some of your budget, to volunteer at a food bank, volunteer a day at a retirement home taking gifts for the elderly, or donate to a charity. Knowing that you brought smile to someone’s face and made a difference in their lives, will immensely lift your spirit (holiday spirit)! Be mindful and emphatic towards those who are struggling this holiday season.
Ultimately, it is all about sharing, giving, loving, and spending time with our loved ones – the essence of the holiday season.
On this note, I wish all our readers Happy Holidays! Be merry, and do not worry 🙂
Continuing with our popular blog series that answers some of the questions we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked frequently by students looking to join one of our online programmes, we asked some of our past and current students to share their thoughts and opinions, to give their feedback on how they handled the challenges of online learning. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.
Let’s learn from those who came before and see if what worked for them will help you become a better student!
Who are you, really?
My name is Naomi Osei-Asemani. Professionally I work as an educationist. I am a CEO of an international school in Ghana, West Africa (Peculiar International School). I have 140 staff working under me. Personally, I love kids and anything that has to do with them, especially their upbringing and education. My school has 1,400 students ranging from ages 1-19. I am very passionate about this job; thus, I sacrifice all my life and finances for it. I also love taking care of the youth and directing them, so they don’t derail from their missions in life. I, therefore, have about five (5) students I am taking care of/sponsoring at various universities in my country Ghana. I have also given scholarships to more than twenty (20) children to attend school (basic school), some of whom I feed as well. I also like taking care of old people, and in that area, I have four elderly people (two are 85 years old) I feed and ensure their safety.
Getting back into education
Your story of getting back to do a Master’s degree
What was the driving force behind your enrolling for an online degree? Who inspired you? What motivated you?
In the first place, it has been my desire for a long time to become a PhD holder one day in my life. Secondly, the industry I am in is challenging; the mode of delivering education worldwide keeps changing, and therefore, I needed and still need to upgrade myself to meet global challenges. Finally, my school runs the Cambridge IGCSE and A Level, and there is, therefore, the need to recruit staff with high qualifications and those qualified to deliver the curriculum. I, therefore, need to highly educate myself so that I don’t fall short of the knowledge and skill required to direct the affairs of the staff. Self-motivation is a global challenge that comes with human resources.
What were the thoughts/situations/people/challenges holding you back from starting (if any)? How did you overcome them?
Family issues. How will I manage schooling with my tasking job? HOW DID I OVERCOME IT? I resorted to doing all my studies at night when all the family members and my staff had retired to their beds. I did this continuously for two years.
What surprised you the most when you started your studies?
I realized that I could work and attain a master’s degree using only the night to study. I thought I could do that because I worked so hard during the day and cared for my family after work. But I could pull through even though it was a bit tough.
Do you feel there are unique challenges women face when deciding to get back into education?
Yes, women face issues with their husbands, childcare and the fact that society generally doesn’t expect higher education from women. My friends think a bachelor’s degree should be enough since I own a business. To the society around me: “what else are you looking for in life”? Also, challenges with workplace issues, especially when women are working for other employers. The challenges are lack of funds to sponsor oneself to school, tight work schedules, and traffic to get back home.
Getting the degree
The work to get the degree – what did you learn, how did you balance, what would you do differently
I needed to learn more about leadership because I needed to become a better leader than I was.
I was attracted to the innovation part because of the changing trends in education delivery and changes in technology.
Climate change is happening all around us.
I thought this course would help me acquire the requisite knowledge to combat these issues.
What is the single most important thing you learned during the programme?
One most important thing I learnt is that, culture is like an iceberg; what we see happening in the organization is just the tip of the iceberg. The bigger part of organizational culture is very much embedded in the attitudes and behaviours of people, and changing the culture is not as easy as we think.
Michael Watkins sees Culture as a form of protection that has evolved from situational pressures. With this, we know that culture evolves, so as the people grow in the organization, the culture also grows with them. I have therefore been deliberate with the kind of culture my organization is building because I have become aware of how difficult it is to change the culture we build.
How did you balance work and studies?
I work during the day and study during the night.
Any particular challenges to being a woman and studying online, or do you think all students face the same ones?
The challenge of having to balance my responsibilities as a wife, a mother, a career woman, a CEO and a philanthropist (well, I think some other women also go through the same). Also, I did not have any physical classmates to even talk to when I faced any challenge: this aspect was very challenging.
Life post degree
What changed, if anything?
What’s new in your life since graduating / starting your studies? Any visible impact already?
Having finished my studies, I have acquired new knowledge, skills and abilities to change what is not working in my workplace. To bring new innovations and deliberately introduce organizational activities that I know can become deeply embedded in our culture.
Anything you are doing differently now because of the things you learned?
I have introduced online studies for my students and parents, which has helped during the Covid-19 crisis. I have also been able to open another school which is totally different from the schools operating in the area, and even from the current one I am operating, it is an innovation. This school will open in three months’ time. It is a combination of the Montessori and Froebel systems of education. The packaging and delivery methods are different. I am also rolling out a new system where parents can call teachers to come to their homes to help their children.
Do you feel that getting a Master’s degree or doing other online programmes can reduce gender discrimination in the workplace?
Of course, yes. Having a Master’s degree has made me bolder and more knowledgeable. My appetite for research has also increased.
Advice for other women
Or other students, really.
Imagine you could send a message back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
Eiiii!! Naomi, everything is possible. Don’t think of your tight schedule in your office, the needs of your staff or the number of students under you. Don’t even think your husband or your three children would be hindrances. Remember, Naomi, that with God on your side and with determination and hard work, you can make it. Also, know that you can do everything through Christ who strengthens you, so go all out and venture into any area in life you want to.
Imagine you could send an object back in time to your pre-degree self: what would it be?
A picture to motivate me.
Anything else you would like to add that could help with the goal of increasing women’s participation/access to a Master’s degree?
I want all women to know that there is nothing impossible if you are determined to do it. In the face of all the challenges we see, we can still do whatever we want to do, be whatever we want to be and get wherever we want to get. Step out to take your Master’s degree, do the RKC online degree from your home, and remember to work more during the night when everyone is asleep. Listen, the sky is no longer the limit; the moon has now won the challenge. So aspire to be better. God bless you.
If you have been thinking about getting your master’s degree, and proving to yourself and others that you CAN do it, now would be a good time to take the plunge. Have a look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything that could help.
I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, the application process, and the discounts we might offer.
Today’s job market is highly competitive and challenging. To prove your metal, one has to exhibit why you outshine in the crowd of thousands of job applicants. Higher education has increasingly become necessary for anyone seeking career advancement. And in today’s dynamic environment, just a bachelor’s degree may not suffice to get the top jobs. A master’s degree in your specialization will help expand your knowledge base and experience required to make your next career move or get the promotion.
The benefit of a master’s degree to you in 2023
Everyone has their reasons to pursue a master’s programme. Here are some popular ones:
1. Shield against recession and job cuts
Once you equip yourself with master’s degree knowledge and skills, you level yourself above the rest of the employees. The employer will choose the employees who are better qualified and experienced should the situation of job cuts arises. One can better their chances of sustaining their jobs and ensure job security by creating value for the company.
2. Building a vast professional network
While studying for a master’s, one of the benefits is that you get to interact with like-minded professionals. One gets to know people from different cultures, intellects, and business acumen from across the world. The connections you make are made from the standpoint of mutual learning and growth, which usually are impossible to make at the workplace due to competition and professional jealousy. These connections last forever.
3. Potential of earning a higher salary package
Depending on your field – a master’s degree usually means the potential of earning a higher compensation package. Being a master’s degree graduate, you can negotiate your pay package on your terms. Employers recognise the value you bring to the table and are willing to offer compensation dollars ($$) accordingly.
4. Better probability of promotions
Having a master’s degree betters your chances for that promotion at work by raising your bar to the top candidates running in the competition. So, if you are aware of any arising opportunity for promotions at your workplace in 2023, start your application for a master’s degree now.
5. Advanced knowledge
You maybe are the head of the department running the show for the company in sales, finance, supply chain, marketing, commercial law or artificial intelligence. One feels the need for new ideas to run a business efficiently and increase profitability by implementing new/better business processes. Beyond a point, one needs to learn management and leadership skills to be a better manager and effective leader. Such knowledge can be acquired by furthering your horizon with a master’s degree.
I can extend another reason for you to start a master’s programme in 2023 with the special fee promotion. You can now join a master’s programme with a deposit of just 500 CHF. Also, benefit from discounts up to 2,100 CHF. You can connect with our education advisors on WhatsApp for a live chat to learn about the application process for intakes starting in January 2023.
What is your reason for starting a master’s in 2023? Share in the comment section below, and get started with the next steps now!
As a kid in the 90s, I remember several adults (parents and educators mainly) going on and on about how listening to music while studying, especially western classical, will make a child smarter or help them learn subjects quicker. They said a scientific study called the Mozart effect had proven this as fact.
Hearing this had a significant impact on me at that time. I remember forcing my parents to take me to the music store to buy CDs and cassette tapes (yes, I know, it was a long time ago) of classical music, mainly Mozart and Beethoven. Now, this is music that I don’t enjoy (even though I tried really hard to like it), and I forced myself to listen to it while studying. As you can imagine, the results were not great, which was the end of that experiment. Man, did my parents lay into me for wasting money on those CDs.
But I also know many people who listen to music when they work/study, and it seems to work for them.
However, as far as the Mozart effect is concerned, since the initial study, there have been several others, and the findings have been mixed. In general, listening to music you love tends to put you in a good mood, and a positive frame of mind can, in turn, positively impact your work.
Our results on the effects of listening to Mozart’s Sonata for Two Pianos in D Major K. 448 on spatial–temporal task performance have generated much interest but several misconceptions, many of which are reflected in attempts to replicate the research. The comments by Chabris and Steele et al. echo the most common of these: that listening to Mozart enhances intelligence. We made no such claim. The effect is limited to spatial–temporal tasks involving mental imagery and temporal ordering.
Frances H. Rauscher, PhD, Co-author of the study “Music and spatial task performance”.
I love listening to my kind of music when I drive, especially on long-distance trips, and music helps me enjoy the drive and reduces the stress and fatigue I might feel otherwise. So, I can attest that music can positively impact your frame of mind and help you study better.
Here are four points you should consider when you experiment with music and see if it can positively impact your study/work.
(1) The choice of music
There is no point in listening to music you don’t like. You will be irritated and distracted if you try and force yourself to listen to music you are not interested in, which will reduce your efficiency. So, listen to music you like; it will hopefully put you in a happy frame of mind and should translate to an improved learning/working experience.
(2) Listen to music with no lyrics
I, like most people, tend to sing along with the songs I like, which can get very distracting, especially when I am trying to read and study or when I am trying to formulate sentences when writing a paper. When I am singing along with a song, that is where my focus is – on the lyrics and trying to keep pace with the beat. My focus will not be on what I am reading or writing. However, when I am doing something physical such as working out or even driving, singing along usually enhances my experience of the activity. The lyrics might even motivate me to push harder for a better result.
So, listen to music that is appropriate to the work that you are doing. When researching or writing, I usually have soft music (without lyrics) playing in the background and on repeat to not distract me from work; it is something that I enjoy and works for me. When I drive, cook, clean, or work out, it is rock, hip-hop and a bit of metal at a loud but not distracting volume, and this type of music works for me in this situation.
Don’t be afraid to experiment to find out what kind of music works for you while studying or doing a particular job. Not all music will work to give you the push you are looking for at a given time. So, mix things around and see what works for you. You might find that sometimes you just need peace and quiet to focus on a job and get it done correctly and efficiently.
(4) Limit the time
I have found that when I listen to music for too long, especially when studying, writing or researching, the effect of the boost I get from it reduces after a while and can even get a little distracting. So, I use music as a boost, something to push my focus beyond my usual. I usually start my work without music, as I am typically fresh when I start, and when I feel my focus begin to drift, I play music and recentre myself. I play something a little upbeat when I feel sluggish (usually after lunch). Music being played depends on my state of mind and need not always be on.
These are a few points that I have found work for me. Hopefully, it will work for you as well. Do you listen to music when you study? Does it help you learn better? Comment below!
If you are looking to start studying again and are looking to join a 100% online master’s degree programme, then consider joining our globally recognised master’s degree programmes. Look at our list of programmes and see if we have anything you are interested in doing.
You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on the programme that is right for you, the application process, and details on discounts we might offer.